Before 1978, lead was a common additive in paint. However, lead is now known to be a dangerous neurotoxin which can lead to serious health conditions, such as mental retardation and behavioral problems, especially for children who are exposed.
Given the dangers of lead when present in a building, federal and state laws now mandate disclosure of the presence, or potential presence, of lead paint in buildings when they are sold, leased, or rented, if the building was constructed before 1978.
Lead Paint Disclosure Laws in Southern California
Southern California real estate transactions are under the jurisdiction of federal and California state laws concerning lead-based paints. When properties are sold, leased, or rented, the seller, landlord, or property management company is required by law to inform the buyer or tenant about the potential of lead-based paint, if the building was constructed before 1978.
Real estate contracts for the sale of houses require the seller to provide the buyer with the following written information concerning lead-based paint.
- A pamphlet published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entitled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.
- A written report detailing any known presence of lead-based paint in the building.
If the property is an apartment building or other multi-unit structure, the seller must also provide:
- Copies of all reports about lead-based paints used in community areas of the property.
- A contract attachment with a Lead Warning Statement, stating that the seller is in compliance with all lead-based paint notification regulations.
The buyer must also be given ten days for conducting a lead-based paint risk assessment. This requirement can be waived by buyers of residential homes.
Renters of properties built before 1978 must also be given information by the landlord concerning lead paint, including the EPA pamphlet mentioned above.
It is the legal and ethical responsibility of property sellers, real estate agents, landlords, and property management companies to comply with these laws concerning disclosure of lead-based paints in their buildings.