No property owner wants to be responsible for causing a tenant to become ill. Unfortunately, not knowing about or resolving certain issues within their buildings may do just that. Although nationally banned in 1978, many homes contain lead-based paint, which may cause significant health issues.

A highly toxic metal, exposure to lead may cause damage to people’s vital organs, as well as learning disabilities, behavioral problems and even death. To protect yourself from legal action and for the safety of your tenants, it may benefit you to understand the hazards lead-based paints pose and your responsibilities as a property owner.

The hazard of lead-based paint

According to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, lead-based paint may become a serious hazard if it starts peeling, chipping or getting ground into dust. In this state, lead-based paints may cause significant damage, particularly for children in key developmental stages and pregnant women. When intact, lead-based paints typically do not present health hazards.

The responsibility of property owners

As a landlord, you have specific responsibilities when it comes to protecting your building tenants from exposure to lead-based paints. If you plan maintenance or construction activities in areas with lead paints, you must take the appropriate precautions to limit the creation and spread of lead-based paint dust. Further, you must thoroughly clean the area once work is completed to ensure that no lead hazards get left behind. Should tenants have concerns about peeling or chipping lead-based paints, they may report them to you as their landlord. The state of New Jersey requires that you provide a response within 30 days.