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3 things every tenant should know about lead paint

When you sign a lease and move into a new home or apartment, you likely do not expect that it will be a hazard to your health and the health of your family. This is exactly what happens, though, when there is lead paint present in your home. It is a well-known fact that this poses a serious risk to tenants, but it sometimes still appears in apartments and homes built when the use of lead paint was common.

Your landlord should disclose the use of lead paint, but sometimes he or she does not do this. Whether you have lived in your home for two years or two months, there are several things you need to know if you suspect that there is lead paint in your home that might be compromising your health.

1. Most lead is in buildings pre-1978

Once consumers became aware of the risks of lead paint, there was a ban put on it so that manufacturers could not make or use it. This, however, was in 1978 — and by that time, countless homes already had lead paint in the interiors. If you suspect there may be lead paint in your home, you should find out what year the owner or contractors built it. If it’s pre-1978, your suspicions may be correct.

2. Children and fetuses are at risk

Lead paint is a risk to any inhabitant of your home, but it is especially harmful to children. If they breathe the fumes or inhale the dust, they may suffer lead poisoning. Though this often has no symptoms, it is serious and can even be fatal. Pregnant women should be particularly cautious as lead poisoning can pass to the fetus and seriously harm an unborn child.

3. Landlords may be partially liable

According to SFGate, there are a number of laws dictating how California landlords must handle lead paint in their properties. If landlords renovate the property, they must remove and replace lead-based paints, and if they are aware of the presence of lead paint, they must disclose this to tenants. Failure to comply with either of these mandates is a serious legal violation.

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