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Background

Until it was found to have adverse effects on human health, particularly on the health of children, lead-based paint was used in many homes and apartment units in the U.S. To reduce exposure to lead-based paint hazards, Congress enacted the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act in 1992 (Title X of Public Law 102-550).

This law requires sellers to disclose the existence of any known lead-based paint in pre-1978 residential properties, and to disclose the results of any previous testing for lead-based paint. As a result, Title X created additional responsibilities for real estate agents and brokers and property managers in sales and lease transactions by requiring them to facilitate disclosure of this information and to ensure the buyer receives and reviews the relevant information on lead-based paint hazards.

How Lead-Based Paint Rules Affect REALTORS®

The most recent EPA rule in this area addresses lead hazards in remodeling and renovation projects. To reduce exposure to lead-based paint hazards during renovation activities, EPA requires notification and work safety procedures before, during, and after certain remodeling or renovation activity. These rules will particularly impact REALTORS® who have significant property management activities in their practice and residential property managers.

In addition, the EPA is also interested in applying the same regulatory approach to renovation activities in public and commercial buildings. Because of the significant differences between residential and commercial structures, NAR is concerned about a “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulating lead hazards in commercial buildings. At this time, the EPA has not provided a time frame to move forward with this regulation.

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