It is your duty, as a Summerville landlord as well as a property owner, to keep your rental property in a safe and habitable state. This would mean doing regular maintenance and repairs for almost all property owners. However, if your rental house was built before 1978, then there are a couple of other things you may need to add to your property maintenance list. To cite an example, numerous older homes were made with lead-based paint on their inner walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be extremely unsafe for your tenants. This is why landlords are concerned about controlling lead-based paint exposure as much as possible. The next paragraphs are going to talk about the hidden hazards of lead-based paint in the rental home. It will also provide insight into how property owners can help their tenants avoid exposure.
The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint
Lead-based paint was usually applied in buildings constructed before 1978. If your walls have lead paint- unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust- it’s not necessarily dangerous. Old lead paint becomes toxic to individuals (especially children) if they come into contact with it. You can typically observe this placed around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, doors, and door frames. Ingesting lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can cause a host of health problems. Some of these include headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. Lead paint is especially harmful to children. Learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow issues are some of the conditions lead paint causes in children. But for the people who are unfortunate to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint, they can experience some lifelong and damaging health problems.
The health and safety of your tenants should be your number one priority as a landlord. The risks of lead paint extend beyond that too. In truth, in most states, if you consciously rent a property with lead-based paint without telling that fact to your tenants, you could be liable for any related expenses of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. With that, it is necessary that you, without a doubt, are aware that your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and that you take the needed steps from there.
Having your rental tested and inspected is the first thing you should do if you don’t know whether it has lead-based paint or not. Depending on the age of the property and location, it may not be sufficient to rely on the information given to you when you bought the property. Then, if lead is discovered, you may be legally required to tell your tenants and supply them with data about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.
Avoiding Tenant Exposure
One of the best ways to eliminate the possibility of risk of exposure is to have the lead paint removed completely. This remedy, while costly, is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not attempt to get rid of lead-based paint on your own; this is a job best left to the professionals.
If removal and replacement are not viable solutions, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to deter any contact with the lead paint. Generally, the more affordable option among the two would be encapsulation. This process involves applying a special coating over the lead paint, which creates a watertight seal. On the other hand, an enclosure covers the old exterior with a new one. This is just like putting up new drywall over an existing wall or covering window sills with cladding. While the two options may work temporarily, if the coating ever fades or the enclosed surface is removed, the risk of being exposed is very great. On top of that, you would still need to provide disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint, according to the laws in your area.
At Real Property Management Charleston, we are aware that owning rental properties can come with a few unforeseen challenges. When these challenges do arise, you need the experience and resources of Summerville property management experts to help you in every step. Contact us online to learn more.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.