Real NEastate: Do I have to certify that my property is lead free?

Q: I own a few row homes in Castor Gardens that I rent out to tenants. I am aware there is currently a bill in City Council that would require certification that the property is lead free before a tenant moves in. I am hearing this will be costly, but I am a smart investor, so I will just pass this cost down to the new tenants. My question is will I have to certify the properties currently rented are lead free?

A: There is a public hearing on this bill today at 1 p.m. I believe the legislation that is currently proposed calls for lease renewals, as well. Check Lead Based Paint Ordinance #100011. The bill, as proposed, would also require home sellers to obtain a certification prior to selling a home built before 1978 in the City of Philadelphia.

More than 80 percent of Philadelphia homes were built prior to 1978 when lead-based paint was abolished. Anyone selling or renting a home built prior to 1978 is currently required by the state of Pennsylvania to sign a lead-based paint disclosure for potential renters/buyers. Additionally, the law requires real estate brokers to provide this EPA booklet to about the effects of lead and how to reduce the hazards of lead in a home.

Lead-based paint is a health hazard; however, it is possible to eliminate and/or reduce the risk of lead poisoning from lead-based paint.

From the EPA booklet:

“Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition, and it is not on an impact or friction surface, like a window. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking or damaged) is a hazard and needs immediate attention. It may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:

  • Windows and window sills.
  • Doors and door frames.
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.”
Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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