THINGS TO DO: Real Estate Professionals

Take the continuing education course “Protecting Yourself and Others from Lead in Homes and Child-Occupied Facilities”, accredited in NH and Maine.  If from another state, contact me at [email protected] to arrange accreditation, or delivery without credits.  The course explains the purpose of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, how this statute is implemented through regulations and how the law increases the risk of civil liability.  How to avoid the substantial potential liabilities of the rules is the purpose of the class, which happens to be by respecting the rights of tenants and prospective purchasers, and ensuring that clients (sellers and landlords) understand the requirements.  It is NOT sufficient for an owner or landlord to avoid testing for lead in order to have nothing to disclose.  Any prospective purchaser has a right (that cannot be denied) to test and if they do, they will generate information pertaining to lead.  In addition, documentation pertaining to lead is now routinely generated as a result of the Renovation Rule.  It is important to understand the significant benefits that testing, and actions to reduce risks, can provide.  Avoiding discussion of lead actually increases, rather than reducing, risks to the seller or lessor.  Each student is provided a thorough review of the rules as well as practical information on how to respond to reduce risks to all concerned.  Recipients of the class, who often take it because they need continuing education credits or because they are concerned about liability, typically comment that they had no idea the topic was so interesting, and that they did not know how much risk they had been taking and causing, and are glad to know how to reduce both.  

Concerned Citizens

Ensure 100% of testing of children and pregnant women.  Recommend retesting older children periodically, when for example they move into a new house.

Ensure all people are tested adequately, starting with children, starting where risk indicators point, but encompassing the risks of occupational, recreational, consumption of game, products, foods, soils, water, paint exposures for all ages.

Enforce RRP.  In states that have not taken delegation, refer to EPA.  Create the culture backed by the prospect of federal enforcement.

Use the easy enforcement method of checking documentation of safe practices.  Find out where work is ongoing and check documentation, within the retroactive period.  Encourage people to report violators.

Require notice of RRP certification in permit applications. Empower local inspectors to give citations. 

Create registries of tested housing where not available and publicize where they exist.

Launch campaigns to make clear that some residences are tested and some are not.

Offer free testing and make sure tenants know they have the right to test even when their landlord declines the offer.  Prospective purchasers have the ten day right to test.

Expand funding for abatement (encapsulation as well as removal) where lead is found.

Educate shooters about lead at shooting clubs, and educate hunters about lead fragments in game.

Provide information about lead water service lines, how to test properly, why one should not do partial replacement, and funding for full replacement.

Launch projects to provide free soil to cover leaded ground and bushes for planting next to homes with leaded exteriors.

Provide Know Your Rights training in churches, workers’ centers, community centers.  Include outreach to undocumented immigrants so that they know they also have rights, including to litigate.

Train tenants in asking questions of landlords.  Train residents in asking questions of agencies.

Increase outreach to affected and regulated populations through information sheets in multi-language formats.

Provide Know your Rights workshops in towns with lead poisoning clusters.

Increase ability of affected populations to access needed resources.

Increase ability of owner-occupied homes to access financial assistance.

Resolve the question of health information privacy in favor of revealing the locations of places that have had repeated instances of children found with lead poisoning.

Make those hotspot areas the focus of Community Reinvestment Act Investment.

Conduct a survey of property values and then a projection of what the property values would be after remediation.  Bid out for proposals for remediation.  Select the strategy that best combines encapsulation and Keep It Clean with removal where it is the best approach, using an expert advisory committee and expert board to select, and reporting on results.  Design the strategy with the input of affected parties at every step, including providing opportunities for the respectful sharing of views in facilitated events for participation in public policy formation.  Create financial mechanisms to provide funding for those who would use it to improve property values generally.

Have a small surcharge kick in if average property values in an area do improve, to fund continued progress.

Put a small charge on the transfer of large estates on the theory that those who have done well should give a hand to others to do well as well

Provide a revolving loan fund from the state to cities

Call on businesses and banks to make healthy homes priority investment.

Ask the Federal Reserve to foster organization of an effort to invest in the Common Wealth.

Ask the State to give grants to cities to establish healthy homes initiatives.

Award places that institute programs that make progress in abating risks with community development investment.

Sponsor programs to assist with property and law for ordinary people, so they understand how to work the system.

Institute programs of affirmative engagement – to do personal outreach to affected communities as well as increasing opportunities for them to provide input on policy and local resources.

Arrange for health insurance reductions for abatement activities – to see it as preventive medicine.

Provide favorable property insurance for healthy home responsible ownership.

Conduct neighborhood investigations to identify unhealthy homes and target inspections.

Establish or support legal assistance to speed processes of enforcement.

Provide landlord-tenant mediation informed by healthy homes perspective.

Coordinate relevant medical, social work, and legal services.

Provide public classes on healthy homes, grants for young people’s projects, research.

Reframe the situation we are in as a tax on everyone, a tax on health.  The tax for health is preferable.

Show how much can be accomplished with a small tax.

Try raising money with a voluntary tax.

Set up funding mechanism to help smaller ventures.  Float bonds.

HUD housing 100% lead free in hot spots.  Create strong incentives for owners to abate.

Public recognition for realtors, finance etc. trying to eliminate lead poisoning.

For a printable PDF version of these actions, please click here.

Are you fighting against lead poisoning in your community? Join the conversation and let us know!