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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorEnsuring that your rental property is in a safe and habitable state is part of your role as a landlord and property owner in Jacksonville. Having regular maintenance and repairs is something most property owners do. If your rental house was built before 1978, it would be best to consider adding certain things to your property maintenance list. A handful of older homes had lead-based paint in the inner walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be severely dangerous to your tenants. This is why, as much as possible, landlords should consider limiting lead-based paint exposure. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will discuss some hidden risks with lead-based paint in the rental home and what property owners can do to prevent tenants from being exposed to it.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was the typical material utilized in buildings made before 1978. It is not necessarily dangerous, having lead paint on the walls, unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. Old lead paint becomes toxic to individuals (especially children) if they come into contact with it. Usually, this is seen 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. It causes learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow conditions. But for the people who are unfortunate to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint, they can experience some lifelong and damaging health problems.

Landlord Responsibilities

A landlord should consider the health and safety of their tenants as a top priority. Extending beyond that are the risks of lead paint. In most states, if you are aware that you are renting a property with lead-based paint and do not tell your tenants about it, you could be liable for any associated expenses of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. Because of this, it is essential to know without a doubt whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take the necessary steps from there.

If you are unsure if your rental has lead-based paint or not, you should have it tested and inspected. Based on the property’s age and location, it may not be enough to depend on the disclosures provided to you when you bought the property. Then, if lead is identified, you may be legally required to inform your tenants and provide them with data about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

One of the main things you can do to eliminate any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint removed entirely. This approach, while expensive, is the typical permanent long-term solution to the problem. Professionals are best left with the task of getting rid of lead-based paint, so do not try to do this yourself.

If removal and replacement are not possible, you may also be able to encapsulate or enclose your rental’s exterior to avoid any exposure to lead paint. Encapsulation is the process where a watertight seal is created by applying a special coating over the lead paint. This is generally the more affordable option between the two. Enclosure, just like putting up new drywall over an old one or covering window sills with cladding, involves covering the old surface with a new one. While both alternatives would work temporarily, if the coating ever fades away or the enclosed surface is removed, the threat of exposure would be great. Depending on the laws in your area, you may also still need to provide disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint.


At Real Property Management Hometown, we recognize that owning rental properties can come with several unexpected problems. When obstacles do arise, you need the experience and resources of Jacksonville property management experts to aid you through. To learn more, contact us online.

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