The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded Lead-Based Hazard Control grants to states to assist with the financial burden of deleading homes in the states’ housing stocks. As part of the grants, New Hampshire received $5.8 million for mitigation, which the state will distribute to property owners to help cover the costs of deleading. The state estimated that the funds will enable approximately 325 housing units to be deleaded.

Similarly, Vermont received a $2.9 million grant under the Lead-Based Hazard Control program for deleading cost mitigation in homes. The state estimated that with the grant, over 160 housing units will be able to undergo deleading to come into compliance with state and federal laws.

Landlords and property owners in New Hampshire and Vermont that know or suspect that there may be lead paint present in housing units that they own should contact the states in order to determine the specific requirements and procedures to follow to apply for a grant. This is especially true if you are a landlord or property owner that leases property to families that may have children under the age of six. For information regarding New Hampshire, information can be located here. For information regarding Vermont, please click here.

Since the 1970s, considerable attention has been given to concerns over elevated blood lead levels in children, especially those under the age of six. The most notable target of federal and state regulations regarding lead involved the lead paint industry. Prior to 1978, lead was used as one ingredient in the manufacturing process of paint in the United States. Homes built prior to 1978 likely utilized paint products that contained lead. Over time, the paint products peel, chip, or flake, creating a risk of lead paint ingestion for children. Given that rooms in homes are typically repainted when normal renovations or maintenance is performed, lead paint used in millions of homes built prior to 1978 remained there for decades. As these homes age and the paint naturally wears away, the potential for children to ingest paint chips containing lead increases.

Whenever a child’s blood lead levels show elevated lead in the blood, the easiest target for plaintiffs’ attorneys are homeowners, property managers, and landlords. This is due in large part to strict laws in many states that hold homeowners and landlords liable for elevated blood lead levels in children (whether the child shows any signs of developmental delay or not) if the child resided in the home and there was lead present in the paint in the home. There are numerous additional sources of lead exposure for children, which CMBG3 Law has reported on previously.

Although it may seem unfair to target homeowners and landlords given the number of other potential sources for exposure to lead that a child might have, it is nevertheless important for landlords, home owners, and property managers to take appropriate steps to test for or monitor the conditions of lead paint in their homes in order to comply with state and federal law. If you are a homeowner, landlord, or property owner, there are ways to mitigate the risk of being sued for lead paint claims and CMBG3 Law LLC can provide counsel to you on these subjects.

John Gardella has represented clients in lead poisoning claims, including defending homeowners, landlords, and property managers in Housing Court and Superior Court. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-936-4353, ext. 204).