Lead paint can lurk in unsuspecting places – sometimes even showing up in imported toys or in your own living room. Fortunately, Massachusetts law is on your side when it comes to exposure to lead paint – as long as you know your rights and what to look for.
How to Detect Lead Paint
Lead paint is rare in houses that were built in 1978 or later, and the Massachusetts Lead Law is mostly concerned with buildings that were built before 1978. The existence of lead paint is not detectable to the untrained eye, so landlords or home sellers must hire lead inspectors in order to see if their property contains lead paint if it was built before 1978. Since lead paint usually injures children via dust inhaled or ingested, owners are still permitted to have lead paint in their property as long as it is covered up in such a way that children are not at risk of exposure.
Injuries Related to Lead Paint Exposure
Injuries resulting from exposure to lead paint are typically limited to children who are six years old or younger. Unfortunately, injuries stemming from lead paint can be very serious and can even cause brain damage, resulting in lifelong behavioral and learning disorders. Exposure to lead paint can also cause damage to young children’s nervous systems and kidneys. Lead paint on window sills or other areas that young children can easily reach as well as any flaking lead paint are particularly hazardous. Despite strict laws that have been put in place to protect children and consumers from the serious and potentially permanent effects of lead paint exposure, many families in Massachusetts still suffer from the side effects of lead paint exposure each year, and many homeowners are held liable for this exposure despite not being aware of the problem.
Your Rights (and Obligations) for Lead Paint Exposure
Due to the strict requirements of Massachusetts Lead Law, families with young children under six years old may appear to be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a house or apartment to rent because of the additional steps the landlord will have to go through as well as the extra liability they will be opening themselves up to if there should be a problem. Fortunately, the law prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on the age of their children for this very reason. Landlords also cannot evict tenants just because they have a child. The law also requires that homeowners whose own young children live in their house make sure that lead paint or dust is not a risk to the children. Even if a tenant signs an agreement with a landlord abolishing the landlord of all lead paint liability, the landlord will still be held liable for any injuries resulting from non-compliance with the Massachusetts Lead Law. Sellers also must provide buyers with all documents and any knowledge they have regarding the existence of lead in the property as well as information on Massachusetts Lead Law.
Lead paint injuries should be 100% avoidable. If your family has suffered the devastating effects of lead paint exposure, contact attorney Peter Ventura today for a free consultation toll-free at 508-755-7535 or contact us online.