This past week the District of Columbia Department of the Environment issued new lead based paint disclosure forms that fulfill the District’s disclosure requirements as well as some of the federal disclosure requirements. The District’s definition is more restrictive than the federal definition:

1) Lead-based paint hazard – any paint in a deteriorated condition that is presumed to be lead-based paint

2) Presumed lead-based paint – any paint in a pre-1978 built domicile

Owners must disclose information related to the property about the presence of lead-based paint, lead-based paint hazards, and any actions ordered by a District agency whenever the owner should “reasonably know” about such things. The illustration provided in the instruction guide states:

If an owner has not given his or her pre-1978 property a new coat of paint in the past twenty years, it is reasonable for the owner to know that the paint is no longer in intact condition. Therefore, the owner must disclose that lead-based paint hazards are present on the interior and/or the exterior of the property, in the form of deteriorated presumed lead-based paint.

In addition, the District law includes any pre-1978 dwelling unit. There are some exemptions, but these don’t apply to most small landlords.

if the landlord learns of the presence of lead-based paint once the tenant is residing at the property, the tenant must be notified within 10 days and the tenant must receive the Federal Lead Warning Statement and the lead hazard pamphlet entitled “Protect your Family From Lead in Your Home (EPA 747-K-94-001) unless the tenant has received it already in the previous 12 month period.

District law also requires that landlords disclose to their tenants what their rights are under the lead law. Per the Department’s site, this must occur “whenever the tenant executes or renews a lease for the unit and whenever the owner provides notice of a rent increase.” For more information and materials, go to “About the District’s Lead Law” on the Agency’s site.

Key points to keep in mind:

  • Disclosure must occur before a tenant is obligated to lease the property
  • The owner must disclose any lead-related records or reports to the prospective tenant
  • The DC disclosure form is designed to satisfy both the Federal and District disclosure requirements
  • The owner must disclose location of any known lead-based paint
  • The owner must disclose location of lead-based paint hazards that the owner should “reasonably know” about
  • The owner must list any pending actions related to the property that have been ordered by a District agency
  • The owner must disclose the tenant’s rights under the lead law at each rent increase, lease renewal, or new lease signing.