Should You Test the Presence of Lead?

There is no Federal law requiring you to be proactive and test for the presence of lead. Nonetheless, you may still want to do so for the following reasons:

  • Controlling lead is easier than going through a lawsuit.

  • Ignorance may not protect you from liability. At some point, the court will undoubtedly rule that the danger of lead paint in old houses is so well known that owners of old houses are supposed to know the danger.

  • You cannot simply refuse to rent to tenants with children due to the presence of lead-based paint. Though you may feel this protects them, this is considered unlawful discrimination in all states and a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

  • You cannot transfer liability through the terms of the lease or rental agreement. An exculpatory clause that attempts to waive your liability for lead damage will not protect you. In fact, it may look bad on you, as it indicates that you knew about the lead.

  • Any refinance or sale will probably bring the problem to light. Your lender may require lead testing before approving a loan.

Your insurance company may soon ask for a lead test as a condition for issuing a policy. Lead-based injury claims are so expensive that insurance companies will sometimes test for lead before issuing homeowners’ policies to exclude any lead-based claims. Review the coverage of your insurance with your insurance agent.

Tellus TIP:

There are household test instruments that can determine whether or not your property contains lead. However, knowing how much lead is present and how to deal with it are questions for a lead specialist. They can assess the situation and give you recommendations on how to remove it.