Bend Oregon real estate brokers have a responsibility to inform their client about lead clean up. - If testing identifies the presence of lead in paint, there are various remedial options available. It should first be noted that if the lead-based paint is in good condition and not on a surface where it is likely to be disturbed (such on drawer glides), it usually is not a problem unless there is concern that a child may chew on surfaces containing the lead-based paint. However, if the paint is peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking, it should be viewed as a potential health hazard and should receive immediate attention. Possible actions to take are generally based upon the size of the area in question.

Small Areas

Scrape or sand painted surfaces to remove the deteriorating lead-based paint. Paint should be kept wet during the sanding and scraping process to minimize making the lead particles airborne. The wet scrapped waste should be properly disposed of. The surface then should be repainted with a lead-free paint.

Large areas

  • Replacement of the entire surface may be the easiest and least costly approach in some cases, as this would be especially effective where old doors, windows, trim and other woodwork can easily be replaced with new material. Some homeowners, trying to preserve old doors, windows, and millwork may not view this as an option.

  • Enclosure is another good method to abate the lead problem in large areas. The lead based paint areas are covered with wood, vinyl, drywall, paneling, or metal. This method also involves replacing doors, windows, moldings and trims. Although effective, this method can be expensive.

  • Encapsulation is probably the most cost effective and best method to abate a lead problem in a house. Encapsulation involves applying a paint-like coating over the lead-based paint surfaces. Surface preparation is similar to that used before applying ordinary paint, except that care is taken to avoid generating dust. These encapsulating products usually retail for about $35 per gallon and can reduce abatement costs by over 80 percent when compared with other abatement methods.

    Encapsulation of windows and doors will still require that lead based paint be removed prior to application of any encapsulation coating. The friction generated by opening and closing windows and doors can wear down the encapsulating coating, exposing the lead surface underneath.

  • Off-site chemical stripping is an expensive but effective way to preserve old doors, windows and millwork. This method entails removing the old material from the house and taking it to a facility where the paint is stripped from the wood using a chemical solution. If the homeowner wants to keep the old woodwork because replacement with new is not a desirable alternative, this may be the best method to abate the lead.

  • On-site paint removal is probably the least desirable alternative. If not properly done, it can increase the amount of lead dust in the house. It can get into the heat and cooling system ducts and become nearly impossible to remove. This process will also be expensive. If this method is chosen to preserve large areas of old trim, doors, or other surfaces, a qualified contractor trained in lead paint removal should be hired. The contractor should follow proper lead paint removal protocols, which require wetting the surfaces with a chemical solution and then scraping those surfaces with a wire brush, paint scraper, or other appropriate device. A thorough cleanup and proper disposal of the waste material is required.

  • Another method to remove old paint is the use of a heat gun that softens thick paint, thereby allowing it to be more easily scraped and removed. Since heating the paint can cause the lead to be vaporized, the use of a respirator is highly recommended.

    Lead in Water

    graphics5If concentrations of lead are found to exist in a home's potable water supply system, replacement of the entire potable water supply system usually is both unnecessary and simply too costly. A simple, effective solution is to let the water run for about a minute prior to using any water for drinking or cooking. This will remove water that has been in the system for a long enough period to absorb lead. Because hot water is more likely to pick up lead from the solder than is cold water, never use water from the hot water tap for drinking or cooking.

    Another effective method to remove lead from a home's potable water supply system is to provide charcoal filtration filters at the various faucet heads.

    Lead in Dust and Dirt

    Lead can be introduced into any house by means of tracking in lead containing dirt. In order to protect children from lead brought into the property or that might accumulate in dust from other sources, the following guidelines will be helpful for families with children:

    • Ensure that children do not crawl and play in the yard or floor if lead is known to exist in these locations.

    • Ensure that children do not put pacifiers, toys, or their hands in their mouth if they have encountered lead-contaminated dirt or dust.

    • If lead dust is known to exist in the home, mop the floors frequently with a wet mop.

    • If lead dust is known to exist in the home, clean window sills, furniture and other surfaces frequently with a damp cloth.

    • Lead Disclosure and the Residential Real Estate Transaction

      In 1994, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) drafted new federal regulations on the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards in residential properties to comply with the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. These new rules were implemented in 1996 in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS®.

      The 1996 rules provide that sellers or their real estate broker/agent must do all of the following:

      • Provide to buyers and tenants a federally approved lead-based paint hazard information pamphlet entitled "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home."

      • Disclose the presence of any lead-based paint or related hazard in any house built prior to 1978.

      • Provide buyers and tenants copies of any available reports dealing with the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based hazards.

      • Provide buyers (but not tenants) a 10-day or mutually agreeable period for a lead paint assessment or inspection before a purchaser becomes obligated under the contract to purchase. The buyer may waive this right to test for lead.

      The lead disclosure rules apply to both the purchase of residential property and to the renting of residential property built prior to 1978, with the following exceptions:

      • Property sold at foreclosure.

      • Rental property that is certified "lead-based paint free" by an inspector who is certified under a federal program or federally authorized state certification program.

      • Property leased for 100 days or less with no lease renewal or extension.

      • A renewal of existing leases, if disclosure was made at the time of the initial lease. However, disclosure must be made when renewing leases that were in effect on September 6, 1996.

      • Units with no bedrooms, no separation between sleeping and living areas (e.g., studio apartments, dormitories, or individual rental rooms in a residential dwelling).

      • Housing for the elderly or disabled if children under the age of six are not expected to live there.

      The signed documentation demonstrating that the purchaser or lessee received the required disclosure information must be retained by the seller, the landlord, or agent for a period of three years from the date of sale or lease. The burden of compliance with the lead disclosure law is on the seller and/or lessor. If a licensed real estate agent is involved in the transaction, it is the licensee's responsibility to advise the seller/lessor of the lead disclosure obligation. This responsibility extends to all agents involved in the transaction, except for a buyer's agent who is actually paid by the buyer. Records relating to the lead-based paint disclosure and executed disclosure documents must be kept for a minimum of three years for completed transactions.

      Compliance with the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Law is mandatory and civil penalties can range up to $17,047 for each violation. In addition, those who intentionally either ignore or violate the law can face up to one year imprisonment and up to a $17,047 fine, or both. The injured party (buyer or tenant) is also able to pursue relief under the federal statute for failure to disclose a hazardous condition, which by law is a material fact. The injured party may receive up to three times the damages sustained. The damages may include medical costs related to lead-based paint poisoning and costs associated with correcting the lead-based paint problem in the structure.

      The federal courts are becoming very aggressive in enforcing the provisions of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Law. In July 2001, a Washington D.C. landlord pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and making a false statement to federal officials in order to conceal his failure to notify his tenants of the known presence of lead and the hazards associated with lead-based paint in his rental units. He was sentenced to serve two years in prison. Another federal district court in Connecticut, in the case of Smith v. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, Inc., held a listing agent liable for triple damages in a case involving lead-based paint disclosure requirements. Both cases were based on federal law that applies to all 50 states. All sellers and licensees should be aware of the provisions of HUD and EPA regulations as they apply to lead-based paint.

      The licensee's role in the disclosure process is that of explaining the lead-based paint disclosure requirements to the seller and/or lessor. Agents should advocate full disclosure and should remain neutral in their presentation of the disclosure requirements and forms. Agents working with a buyer should explain the purpose of the lead-based paint disclosure laws. Once the buyer receives the disclosure information from the seller, the agent should query the buyer regarding testing for lead, if the buyer is looking for a lead-free house or what lead conditions the buyer would be willing to accept, along with what level of abatement would be acceptable. The agent should not make any recommendations or decisions on behalf of the buyer, rather the issues must be decided by the buyer.