Lead-Based Paint Rule Review

January 1, 1996

Long-awaited federal regulations on lead-based paint disclosure are "realistic, practical, and should not be obtrusive to the normal flow of a residential real estate transaction," according to Lynn Goldman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's assistant administrator for prevention, pesticides, and toxic substances. "This is a rule reflective of common sense," Goldman says. The lead-based paint rule was slated for release by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the first week in January.

Compliance with the lead-based paint regulations is expected to be deferred for six months to a year after issuance, according to HUD officials. The earliest date that practitioners would have to comply would be late June 1996. The regulations implement the federal Lead-Based Paint Law, which was passed by Congress in 1992.

In November, David Jacobs, director of the HUD office of Lead Hazard Control, offered this outline of the final regulations:

  • Owners of residential properties built before 1978, when the use of lead-based paint was common, will have to disclose to buyers or renters the presence of known lead-based paint hazards.
  • A lead-based paint disclosure statement must be attached as a separate item to all real estate sales and lease contracts on pre-1978 residential properties.
  • Real estate practitioners must distribute to buyers and renters a federal lead hazard pamphlet but won't be responsible for ensuring that people read and understand the brochure, as was the case in an early draft of the regulations.
  • Buyers will have up to 10 days to have a lead-risk assessment performed on the property if they want one.
  • Exemptions from the regulations are provided for housing for the elderly and disabled, provided children are not regularly present; for vacation homes and short-term rentals; for foreclosure sales; and for single-room rentals within dwellings.

Jacobs said HUD plans a detailed educational outreach program for real estate practitioners before the rule takes effect. NAR also plans to develop training materials to help familiarize REALTORS® with their legal obligations under the law.

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