Dear Monty: We will be selling our home in the spring. Our house was built in the early 1940s. It is a large three-story stone home in a historic district. The inspector did not mention lead paint, which surprised me, as I suspect we have it. Do I have to disclose this to a buyer?
Monty: Federal Lead-Based Paint (LBP) disclosure rules from the Environmental Protection Agency require sellers of most residential housing built before 1978, including REO bank properties and for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) properties, to follow these procedures.
» Disclose the presence of LBP.
» Provide buyers and tenants with any available records or reports about any LBP present in the housing.
» Provide buyers and tenants with a federally approved LBP Hazard information pamphlet.
» Ensure that offers to purchase and leases contain certain disclosures and acknowledgments.
» Provide homebuyers with an opportunity to inspect for LBP.
LBP Noncompliance Penalty
The civil penalties for each violation shall be no more than $11,000 for violations occurring after July 28, 1997.
Suppose a person knowingly or willfully violates the federal LBP law. In that case, the sanctions could include imprisonment for not more than one year and a fine of not more than $100,000 for each day of the violation.
These laws apply to both homeowners and real estate agents nationwide.
— Richard Montgomery is the author of House Money: An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home. He advocates industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Click here to ask him a question at DearMonty.com, or follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.