Lead Paint Information for the Investment Buyer & Landlord

Owning residential investment property – property you do not occupy or a multi-family home where you occupy one of a number of units  – can be a rewarding and wealth building proposition.  However, as most things that have reward, it also has risks.

In 1971 Massachusetts passed a law regarding Lead Paint.  In 1994 it was significantly revised.  Shortly after, the U.S. Government adopted significant portions of the Massachusetts law as Federal Law.  This law (MA Lead Paint Law) places the responsibility on the landlord to have a licensed lead paint inspection performed on any residential property built before 1978 in which a child 6yrs or younger resides or will reside.  If the results of the test show levels of lead higher than the safe levels as set forth by the State on surfaces 5ft or below then actions are required to bring the property in compliance. The testing is performed on interior, common area and exterior spaces on the property.

Lead Safe Information for Massachusetts


The cost of bringing a property into compliance (often mistakenly called de-leading) can be significant.  However the cost of not taking action to bring a property into compliance may be far worse.  The failure to address this issue comes with great liability, should a child become sick.  If a child is found to have medical/neurological issues due to lead paint poisoning, the property owner is likely to be liable for the cost of care and damages.  

If you are a making the move towards being a landlord, please read the following two questions provided MA Health and Human Services:

Excerpt from from Health and Human Services:

Can a rental property owner be held liable for a lead poisoned child?
Yes. If a child is lead poisoned by lead hazards where the child lives, the owner is legally responsible. An owner cannot avoid liability by asking tenants to sign an agreement that they accept the presence of lead paint. Complying with the Lead Law is the best protection an owner has from liability.

Can an owner evict or refuse to rent to a family with children under six if there is lead paint in the home?
No. An owner cannot evict or refuse to rent to anyone because or lead paint. Discrimination is against the law and carries penalties.

The “Deleading” Process

There are several ways to address Lead Paint: encapsulation, enclosure, removal and replacement. The process may include replacing windows and woodwork, scraping or covering old paint or encapsulation.  

The average cost is approximately $10,000.00 per unit, but can go as high as 2-3 times that amount  depending upon such issues as the number of windows, wall degradation, trim, etc. This information was provided by HouseLogic.  

Click Here (English) or Here (Spanish) for more information on Lead Paint…

Lead Paint: Financial Assistance

In Massachusetts, property homeowners who receive a “Letter of Full Compliance” are eligible for State Tax Credit equal to the deleading expense, or $1,500.00, whichever is less for every residential unit they bring into compliance.

There are several programs available to assist 1-4 family homeowners for removing lead paint from their homes.  The loans under the “Get The Lead Out” program has maximum limitations on loan value, but has reasonable rates if you qualify:

The maximum loan amounts are:

  • Single-family $20,000
  • 2-family $25,000
  • 3-family $30,000
  • 4-family $35,000

There are other loans programs listed below, also with criteria specific to their programs, click here for more information on each program listed below:

The Home Improvement Loan Program (HILP)

HUD 203(K) Program

Local Public Programs

Programs Offered by Local Lenders

Massachusetts Homebuyer and Homeowner Programs

Arlington MA Home Improvement Program

Cambridge MA Home Improvement Program

As a Landlord there there are many issues you need to be aware of.  You’re responsible for the rental property, its repairs, financial reporting, choosing qualified person(s) to rent your apartment and the Fair Housing laws, detailed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination or (M.C.A.D.).  As a land lord you must adhere to Fair Housing rules, this prevents a landlord from discriminating tenants based on Race, Color, Religious Creed, Sex, National Origin, Disability and Children.

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