If the home you’re buying was built before 1978, you have certain rights concerning lead-based paint and lead poisoning hazards. For starters, the home seller, or her real estate agent must provide you with the EPA pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home,” or other EPA-approved hazard information. The same party must also disclose what the seller knows about the home’s lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards and give you any relevant records or reports.
Like asbestos, lead paint was a compound commonly used in products found in and around homes until its adverse effects on health were discovered. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death. According to the EPA, children six years old and under are at most risk because their bodies are growing quickly.
As a buyer, you must have at least ten days to conduct an inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. However, to have the right to cancel the sale based on the results of an inspection or risk assessment, you will need to negotiate this condition to the seller (in other words, make sure you include it as a contingency in your purchase contract). The seller must attach a disclosure form to the agreement of sale which will include a lead warning statement. The buyer, seller and real estate agent(s) will also give an acknowledgment that these notification requirements have been satisfied.