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Protecting Your Investment and Children from Lead Hazards | By: Multiple Speaker(s)

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Protecting Your Investment and Children from Lead Hazards
-Barbara Boylan

There are two things you need to understand about property investment in older housing when it comes to lead. First, is that it could be the source of lead hazards that may poison a child. Second, the prescription – Rx – for a lead poisoned child is to make the house lead safe. So when you think about investing in an older (pre-1978) property for rental purposes, ask yourself: Can I renovate and maintain it in a lead safe manner? If you cannot and a child is lead poisoned while renting at you property, the local lead program will cite you with work orders to fix the hazards using a lead abatement contractor.

Where are lead hazards in old properties? They could exist where any paint is not intact (is chipping, peeling, chalking, rubbed off by friction). So use your eyeballs and find all the hot spots (a visual inspection). Then review how you can remedy those spots (repaint walls, resurface floors, replace or repair windows). Also figure out if there are any more expensive sources that are causing paint to fail – a leaking roof, plumbing problems or old and leaking windows. And what about the exterior of the building or other buildings on the property, like a garage? What will it take to fix paint hazards on those surfaces (in a lead safe manner).

The only way to know if paint has lead is to have it tested. If it is not tested and the building in pre-1978, then assume there is lead. You may take samples and send them to a lab, or hire a lead inspector to assess the building. But this can be costly.

Before purchasing a property, always call the local lead program to find out if that property has any current or past work orders. If there are work orders that have not been completed, you would assume that responsibility and cost.

Property investors can renovate and maintain lead hazards in pre-1978 properties without being lead abatement contractors. Learning how to use lead safe work practices is simple and can be easily integrated into normal renovation and maintenance activities.
Taking a course to become certified in Lead Safe Renovator and/or Essential Maintenance Practices is the best way to understand how to work lead safe. The certifications also comply with the HUD Lead Rule for the use of lead safe work practices on federally funded properties.

This article was written by Barbara Boylan, Certified Lead Trainer. She can be reached for questions or training on making properties lead safe at (513)681-4995, or

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