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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorBecause you are a property owner and landlord in Downers Grove, it is your responsibility to keep your rental property safe and habitable. Having regular maintenance and repairs is something most property owners do. If your rental house was built before 1978, there are some things to include in your property maintenance list. For instance, a lot of older homes were created using lead-based paint on the inside walls and ceilings. Landlords, as much as possible, should be cautious about limiting lead-based paint exposure. This is because lead-based paint can be super dangerous to your tenants. We are going to go through some hidden dangers of lead-based paint in a rental home as well as what property owners can do to avoid exposure for their tenants.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Buildings constructed before 1978 were typically coated with lead-based paint. It is not necessarily dangerous, having lead paint on the walls, unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. As it ages, lead paint becomes toxic to people (especially children) who are exposed to it. Usually, this is seen around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, doors, and door frames. Adults who eat lead paint or inhale the dust can experience a host of health problems, some of which 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. Some of these health issues can have a lifelong and damaging impact on people who are unfortunate enough to become exposed to lead-based paint.

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 fact, in most places, if you deliberately rent a property with lead-based paint without sharing that information with your tenants, you could be liable for any related costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. For this reason, it is crucial to understand without a doubt whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take the necessary steps from there.

One of the first things you should do, if you don’t know whether your rental has lead-based paint or not, is to have it tested and inspected. Depending on the property’s age and location, it may not be adequate to trust the disclosures said to you when you purchased the property. Then, if lead is found, you may be legally required to inform your tenants and give them information about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

An excellent way to get rid of any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint fully removed. This option, while expensive, is the usual permanent long-term solution to the issue. 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 won’t work, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to stop any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation is the most feasible option between the two. It involves applying a special coating over the lead paint, and this creates a watertight seal. Enclosure, on the other hand, involves covering the old surface with a new one. It’s the same as putting up new drywall over an existing one or covering window sills with cladding. While both options may temporarily work, if the coating ever does wear off or the enclosed exterior is removed, the danger of exposure will be very high. You would also still need to give disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint, in accordance with the laws in your area.


At Real Property Management DuPage Preferred, we recognize that owning rental properties can come with several unexpected problems. You need the experience and resources of Downers Grove property management experts to see you through when problems do arise. To learn more, contact us online.

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