If you live in a home that was built prior to 1978, there is a possibility that you may have lead paint in your house. This means you must follow specific procedures when doing remodeling work on your home, as it’s necessary to control the possibility of airborne lead dust. The issues with lead paint are also an important consideration when buying an older home. Many prospective buyers envision remodeling older homes, but do not realize the extent of laws in place that govern such activities. By arming yourself with the knowledge and information about lead, you can avoid costly problems while keeping the occupants of your home safe at the same time.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a tremendous amount of information on their website regarding household lead. Of particular note is the section that details the potential health risks of lead. It’s important to keep in mind that the simple removal of lead paint from a house is not covered by the home insurance policy, but if there is an unrelated claim that damages the home and requires rebuilding or restoration, the increased cost to remove lead paint may then be covered. This is generally part of the ordinance and law coverage on your home insurance policy. If you elect this additional coverage, it will pay for the need to comply with special regulations that may be more costly than standard repairs. If you live in an older home, it’s a good idea to consider this coverage benefit, as you will likely need it.
To properly complete repairs or remodeling of your home with lead paint, you need to utilize a lead-safe certified contractor. The EPA site contains a special section devoted to helping you locate a qualified firm. This is one area where you do not want to skimp and cut corners. The ramifications of improperly abating lead paint are significant and can result in serious health risks to your family. Additionally, you will be obligated to disclose any issues when it comes time to sell your home and you do not want this to be an obstacle in the sale process. When it comes time to hire a contractor, you should also review our prior blog post for some general tips to ensure your contractor carries sufficient insurance.
If you are considering the purchase of a home, keep all of the above in mind – whether it is in Louisville, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Colorado Springs, Indianapolis – doesn’t matter. When it comes time to inspect your prospective home, ask very specific questions about lead paint. The sellers have an obligation to properly disclose the existence of lead paint. If the sellers have completed renovations, you can ask them to provide you with records of the work performed. A lead-safe certified firm will have proper documentation of the work they performed and you should request this information. If the sellers are unable or unwilling to provide you with this, you might consider this to be a red flag about the quality of the work that was performed.