DIY Lead Paint Testing & Reporting Requirements for Realtors

I’m helping my clients in the purchase of a new home and we’ve run into some issues with lead paint testing and we’ve come up with some questions that we’ve had to consult the experts on.

My clients became alarmed in reading through the lead paint information that is required reading before signing the disclosure form for buying their home. Rightly so, lead paint is exceptionally dangerous and can cause brain damage in children. Anyone reading this would be scared to death.

After much discussion and research and consultation with friends, they decided to buy one of the Do-It-Yourself lead testing kits. That caused me to wonder what the implications were if lead paint was found in the home.

DIY Lead Paint Questions:

  • If the test comes back as positive, is anyone required to notify any government agency? 
  • If I know of the results of that test, am I, as a realtor required to notify anyone? I know there is a database, and you can look up the address for any reports at that address. I cannot find any reference to reporting requirements for DIY kits online. 
  • Should I report this to the county, state, or federal government?
  • Is reporting only required of licensed inspectors?
  • Also, if my clients decide not to buy the house, is the seller’s agent or the owner required to inform all buyers?

When you have a licensed lead paint inspection and you find it, what does the law state that I must do and how fast must I do it?

If you have a child under the age of six, you must have the house deleaded or brought under interim control within 90 days. Interim control is a temporary fix for lead paint hazards. It is not a complete deleading and it only deals with the most serious lead paint issues. These issues are:

  • Loose, chipping or peeling paint
  • Windows where the lead paint is shedding dust or chips
  • Dust in the house that contains lead
  • Window wells that are not smooth or easy to clean
  • Structural defects like a leaky roof or pipes that are making lead paint peel

After a few emails with my manager and one of our experts in real estate law we came with some answers.

DIY Lead Paint Test Answers (reporting requirements)

  • The only reporting requirements are for tests that are carried out by licensed lead paint inspectors.
  • As a realtor representing my buyers, I am under no obligation to share the results of the DIY test with anyone since I am not responsible for the listing or selling of the property at hand.
  • If my clients decide not to buy this house, it is the responsibility of the listing agent to disclose that a DIY lead paint test did come back positive.

Lead Paint Resources

Here are some articles that we found helpful in our search for answers.

About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint. Some homes built after 1960 also contain heavily-leaded paint. It may be on any interior or exterior surface, particularly on woodwork, doors, and windows. In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission lowered the legal maximum lead content in most kinds of paint to 0.06% (a trace amount).

Greater Boston Home Inspections

Ecobond Paint responded to our article on Twitter and had some recommendations based on their own products that are made in America.


Photo for this feature by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

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