Inspection Issue – Lead Based Paint

The discussion of lead based paint comes up in every transaction that involves a house built before 1978. All sellers and landlords are required to disclose in writing the knowledge of any lead based paint hazards and provide results of any previous tests that they may have to any potential buyers or tenants.

Lead based paint has been linked to health difficulties primarily in children but can also be hazardous to adults. Most older houses have lead paint somewhere under the layers of paint in the house. So what is the hazard. If the lead paint is contained it is not an immediate hazard. Only when the paint is released by chipping, sanding etc. It can be in the air, contained in dust or it can be in exterior soil.

In a real estate transaction a Lead Based Paint Disclosure must be filled out and signed by the Seller, Buyer and both real estate agents. This disclosure must be signed before and concurrently with the purchase agreement. If it is done after the fact heavy fines can be placed on the Realtors. Along with the disclosure booklet explaining the hazards of the condition must be received by the buyer.

The buyer has the right to have the house inspected for lead based paint hazards but in my experience I have never seen a buyer have the tests performed. The testing is expensive and can be invasive (samples). I think the object of the program set forth by HUD is education and I think that goal is being fulfilled.


The EPA has a very informative websitewhich has more information if you are interested in learning more.



The cabin shown above is still standing, although I’m sure it is a lead based paint hazard. It is my grandfathers old cabin in MN near Itasca State Park. He passed away just over 8 years ago and my cousin and I have since built the new cabin below on a different location on the land overlooking Gill Lake.


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