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Federal Rule on Real Estate Disclosure and Notification

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The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Act of 1992, also called Title X, required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop regulations for disclosing lead-based paint hazards in homes built before 1978 that are offered for sale or lease.  On March 6, 1996, these new regulations went into effect.  They are known as 24 CFR Part 35 and 40 CFR Part 745, “Lead;  Requirements for Disclosure of Known Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing; Final Rule”.

The law put in place by these regulations went into effect on September 6, 1996 , for owners of buildings with more than four units, and December 6, 1996, for owners of buildings with four or fewer units (including single family homes).

What does this law require?

Under this law, before finalizing a contract for the sale or lease of housing built before 1978:

  • Sellers, landlords or their agents must disclose known information regarding lead-based paint hazards in the housing including copies of any inspection reports;
  • Sellers, landlords or their agents must provide purchasers and renters with an EPA pamphlet titled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home;
  • Purchasers have ten days to inspect or test for lead hazards.*  This time period may be shortened or lengthened by mutual agreement; and
  • Sales contracts and leasing agreements must contain disclosure statements.  Signed copies must be kept for three years.

*(Please note that under California's Lead-Related Construction Work Practice Standards, Inspector/Assessors must be State-Certified.)

What is the disclosure statement for?

The disclosure statement serves to legally document that a seller or landlord met the requirements of the Federal real estate disclosure rule.  By completing and signing this statement...

  • Sellers legally document that they:
    • told the home buyer about any known lead hazards in the home,
    • made inspection records and reports available to the buyer,
    • gave the buyer 10 days to inspect for lead, and
    • gave the buyer a copy of the EPA pamphlet.
  • Landlords legally document that they:
    • told the renter about any known lead hazards in the home,
    • made inspection records and reports available to the renter, and
    • gave the renter a copy of the EPA pamphlet.
  • Agents legally document that they:
    • informed the seller or landlord of their obligations under the law.
  • Buyers legally document that they:
    • received information from the seller about any known lead hazards in the home,
    • were able to review inspection records and reports,
    • received 10 days to inspect for lead or that they waived this right, and
    • were given a copy of the EPA pamphlet.
  • Renters legally document that they:
    • received information from the landlord about any known lead hazards in the home
    • were able to review inspection records and reports, and
    • were given a copy of the EPA pamphlet.

Does this law require owners to inspect for lead or have lead removed?

No.  The law does not require an owner to conduct or pay for an inspection.  A seller must, however, give buyers 10 days to inspect the property for lead.  Nothing in the rule requires an owner to remove lead-based paint or lead hazards from the property.

What type of homes does this law apply to?

This law applies to most private housing, public housing and housing that is Federally owned or funded.  The law does not apply to following kinds of residential properties:

  • Housing built after 1977.
  • “Zero-bedroom” dwellings such as studios, dormitories, lofts, etc.
  • Properties leased for 100 days or fewer, such as vacation homes and short term rentals.
  • Housing for the elderly or handicapped (unless children live there).
  • Rental housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead-based paint.  (Lead-based paint is paint that contains 1.0 mg/cm2 or (0.5% by weight) or more lead.)
  • Foreclosure sales.

What are the penalties for failing to comply with this law?

A seller, lessor or agent who does not comply with this law may be subject to:

  • Civil fines of up to $10,000 for each violation.
  • Criminal fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 1 year.
  • Damages up to 3 times the amount suffered by the purchaser or renter.

What are my responsibilities?

Your responsibilities in complying with this law, depend on your role in the real estate transaction.

  • Real-estate agents and owners share responsibility for complying with the new law.  Agents must inform owners of their obligations under the law and make sure the owner has performed all required activities.
  • Landlords are responsible for complying with the law when establishing a new lease or rental agreement or when modifying an existing lease (example: renewals, rent increases, etc.).
  • Home buyers and renters have no responsibilities under this law.
  • For complete information, see Federal Rule.

 

What does this disclosure rule mean for California?

California already has laws about lead disclosure (Civil Code, Sections 1102 to 1102.15).  This Federal law has additional requirements.

ALSO NOTE: In addition to disclosure, California has specific requirements on lead in housing.  Presence of lead hazards may make your property untenable or subject to penalties.  See California statutes

 
How can I find a qualified person to inspect my house for lead?

The California Department of Public Health has a List of Certified Lead Inspector/Assessors who can safely and accurately inspect your home for lead.  You may also request a copy of the list by calling the Lead-Related Construction Information Line at 1-800 597-5323.  Outside California, call 510-622-5072.  Also see Hiring a Lead Professional for information on what you should know before hiring an inspector/assessor.

How can I get California’s real-estate booklet on environmental hazards?

You can download “Residential Environmental Hazards: Guide for Homeowners, Homebuyers, Landlords and Tenants - 2005 (PDF)” (new version posted May 8, 2006); or in Spanish “Riesgos Medio Ambientales en las Viviendas - 2005 (PDF)”. To obtain the “Homeowners Guide to Environmental Hazards and Earthquake Safety”, which includes both “Residential Environmental Hazards: Guide for Homeowners, Homebuyers, Landlords and Tenants” and the EPA pamphlet “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”, contact the California Association of Realtors at (213) 739-8200.

How can I get the EPA pamphlet?

To get copies of the EPA pamphlet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” or to get sample disclosure forms, full text of the law, interpretive guidance for the real estate community and other information about disclosure, contact the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at


1-800-424-LEAD, Fax (585) 232-3111, or complete the online form

You can also download the pamphlet at Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.

 
 
Last modified on: 10/22/2013 2:56 PM