Ensuring that your rental property is in a safe and habitable state is part of your role as a landlord and property owner in Burlingame. Having regular maintenance and repairs is something most property owners do. However, there a few other things that you need to include in your property maintenance list if your rental house was built before 1978. For instance, many older homes had their interior walls and ceilings painted with lead-based paint. Lead-based paint can be hazardous, which is why landlords should be concerned about reducing lead-based paint exposure to their tenants. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will discuss some hidden risks with lead-based paint in the rental home and what property owners can do to prevent tenants from being exposed to it.
The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint
Usually, buildings constructed before 1978 would make use of lead-based paint. If your walls have lead paint, it’s not necessarily dangerous. However, it becomes hazardous when the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. Lead paint, as it ages, becomes toxic to people (especially children) who are exposed to it. Some areas where this can be usually seen are around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, and 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 causes learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow problems. It is especially harmful to children. These health concerns can have a damaging and lifelong effect on people who are unfortunate enough to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint.
The health and safety of your tenants should be your number one priority as a landlord. 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. With that, it is necessary that you, without a doubt, are aware that your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and that you take the needed steps from there.
If you are not sure that your rental has lead-based paint or not, the primary thing you should do is to have it tested and inspected. Depending on the property’s location and age, it may not be enough to place all your confidence in what was disclosed to you during the time you purchased the property. Then, if lead is identified, you may be legally required to inform your tenants and provide them with data about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.
Avoiding Tenant Exposure
One of the top ways to avoid any risks of exposure is to have the lead paint removed completely. This remedy, while costly, is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not attempt to get rid of lead-based paint on your own; this is a job best left to the professionals.
If removal and replacement aren’t possible, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to avoid any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation, which is commonly the more affordable option of the two, is a process where a special coating is placed over the lead paint, producing 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 choices may temporarily work, if ever the coating does wear off or the enclosed exterior would become detached, the possibility of exposure will be very high. Depending on the laws in your area, you may also still need to provide disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint.
At Real Property Management Mid Peninsula, we recognize that owning rental properties can come with several unexpected problems. When problems come up, you need the experience and resources of Burlingame property management specialists to see you through. Contact us online to learn more.
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