Many people wonder whether they should have lead testing done when they are buying a new home. The answer is always yes. Even if the seller says that there is no lead, you should still have a lead test done. Why? Because the way the EPA rules are written, sellers and landlords must disclose known lead-based paint hazards. But if they have never done a lead test, then they can claim they didn’t know about it and are legally covered. Because of the language, there are loopholes. It’s sneaky, but it happens.
However, if a seller or landlord does know about any lead-paint hazards, there are certain rules they must follow:
• They must provide any available written reports to buyers or renters on the lead hazards that exist, including lead testing reports and lead abatement information.
• Sellers and landlords must give buyers and renters a pamphlet from the EPA, HUD and CSPC titled “Protect Your Family from Lead Paint in Your Home.”
• Notification and disclosure language for the existence of lead paint hazards must be included in sales contracts and leasing agreements.
• Sellers, lessors, and real estate agents share responsibility for ensuring compliance. Since they are liable and this is a buyers market, you may be able to negotiate the cost of lead testing into the price of the home. Buyers have a 10-day period (unless otherwise agreed upon) to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment.
The most important thing is that you have your potential future home tested for lead, regardless of who pays for it. An independent lead inspector will perform the tests and provide you with an unbiased report and plan for what the next steps should be.