Part of your responsibility, as a landlord and property owner in Bozeman, is to make sure that your rental property is safe and habitable. For most property owners, this entails doing regular repairs and maintenance. If your rental house was built before 1978, there are some things to include in your property maintenance list. A lot of the inner walls and ceilings of older homes were created using lead-based paint. Landlords, as much as possible, should be cautious about limiting lead-based paint exposure. This is because lead-based paint can be super dangerous to your tenants. Next, we’re going to share a few of the secret dangers of lead-based paint in a rental home, as well as what property owners can do to help their tenants avoid exposure.
The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint
Lead-based paint was the typical material utilized in buildings made before 1978. If your walls have lead paint- unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust- it’s not necessarily dangerous. Lead paint, as it ages, becomes toxic to people (especially children) if they come into contact with it. Around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, doors, and door frames are some common spots where you can see this. Ingesting lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can cause a host of health problems. Some of these include headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. However, lead paint is especially harmful to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow problems. But for the people who are unfortunate to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint, they can experience some lifelong and damaging health problems.
A landlord should consider the health and safety of their tenants as a top priority. The risks of lead paint extend beyond that too. In most states, you could be liable for any related costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering, if you are aware you are renting a property with lead-based paint and did not share that information with your tenants. Therefore, it is important to know without a doubt whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take the needed next steps from there.
Having your rental tested and inspected is the first thing you should do if you don’t know whether it has lead-based paint or not. Depending on the age of the property and location, it may not be sufficient to rely on the information given to you when you bought the property. Then, you may be legally required to inform and explain to your tenants what lead-based paint is and the dangers of exposure if lead is detected.
Avoiding Tenant Exposure
An excellent way to get rid of any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint fully removed. This approach, while expensive, is the typical permanent long-term solution to the problem. You should not attempt to take off lead-based paint on your own; this is a job best left to the professionals.
If removal and replacement won’t work, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to stop any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation is the process where a watertight seal is created by applying a special coating over the lead paint. This is generally the more affordable option between the two. Meanwhile, the other route you can take is an enclosure. This is means covering the existing surface with a new one, just like when you put up new drywall over an existing wall or covering window sills with cladding. While these two options may work temporarily, if ever the coating does wear off, or the enclosed surface is gone, the chances of exposure will be extremely high. You may also still need to inform your tenant about disclosures regarding the lead paint, depending on the laws in your area.
Owning rental properties can come with a couple of unexpected challenges. And we, here at Real Property Management Bozeman, understand that. You need the experience and resources of Bozeman property management experts to see you through when problems do arise. Contact us online to learn more.
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