If you are looking to purchase or sell a home or investment property that was built before 1978, there are a few things you should be aware of as a buyer or seller. If the home or multi-family property is more than 41 years old, there is a good chance it contains traces of lead paint. Lead was a common ingredient used in the composition of paints manufactured before 1978. It was included in the pigment, which provided the texture, color and hiding properties of paint. Over the years, it was determined that lead was a hazardous element which could cause serious health problems, especially in children under age six. A child’s exposure to lead paint can result in learning disabilities and behavioral problems if symptoms go undiagnosed. In an effort to minimize these types of health issues, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted a ban on lead paint in 1977 for both residential properties and public buildings.

Fast forward to 1992 when legislators felt it was important to disclose the presence of lead in properties constructed before 1978 to both homebuyers and property investors. Interestingly, according to the NH Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire has the oldest housing of any other state in the country with a reported 62% of homes built before the ban on lead-based paint. Therefore, if you are looking to purchase or sell a home or multi-family property built before the ban, there are several things to keep in mind.

Selling a home or investment property containing lead paint

    1. If you own a home or investment property containing lead-based paint, here are a few things you need disclose to a prospective buyer.
    2. You must provide any known information along with any reports disclosing lead paint in your property.
    3. Provide a copy of a pamphlet titled, “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home,” located on the EPA’s website.
    4. Include an attachment to a contract, or language to include a “Lead Warning Statement” to confirm your compliance with all notification requirements.
    5. Give prospective buyers 10 days to conduct their own test or inspection to determine if lead is present.

Purchasing a home with lead paint

If you are looking to purchase a home or investment property that is over 41 years old, there is a good chance it was painted with lead paint throughout its history. It’s easy to identify lead paint as it most often breaks down, flakes, peels or gets rubbed off. In this case, you should hire a lead inspector/risk assessor to determine if any lead paint is present. Simply applying a fresh coat of paint on the interior or exterior of a home will not mitigate the problem because when the new paint begins to wear, it will reveal the lead-based paint below it. To locate a lead inspector/risk assessor, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Purchasing a multi-family property with lead paint

If you are looking to purchase an investment property, such as a multi-family dwelling built before 1978, there are a few things you should know. If you rent to anyone with children under age six, then you are responsible for removing any traces of lead from the property once it’s discovered. In addition, you will be responsible for finding temporary housing for any displaced tenants as well as pay for their housing and moving expenses. The tenant will still be obligated to pay rent while the lead is being removed from the property.

In closing, if you are purchasing or selling a home or investment property containing traces of lead paint, there may be challenges with obtaining financing as most reputable lenders will not want to assume the risk of financing a property tainted with lead. In most cases, they will require that the lead be safely removed before extending a loan for the property.


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Sources: Office of Information and Public Affairs, “CPSC Announces Final Ban on Lead-Containing Paint,” September 2, 1977. NH Department of Health & Human Services, dhhs.nh.gov. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.org. Gassett, Bill, “Selling & Buying a Home with Lead Paint: What You Need to Know,” October 21, 2018. NewEnglandLead.org.

Written by Dawn Beers

Dawn Beers

Dawn heads up our marketing department where she is responsible for the general oversight and management of the Bank’s marketing and public relations initiatives. This involves managing the planning, organizing and directing of our advertising, public relations, product development, sales promotion and research efforts.

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