How Lead Paint In Homes Impacts Buyers, Sellers, and Homeowners; Part 1 of 3

Apr 11, 2012 2:00 PM ET

Greenspiration Home Blog

by Trish Holder, with James Kozachek

For the sake of this blog, I’m pretending to be a 28-year-old woman, expecting my first child, and shopping for a home where I plan to raise a family with my husband.

It’s really not such a stretch.  I have, in fact, been all of these things at one time or another, which perhaps makes me a bit more sensitive to a very controversial topic:  Lead paint in homes.

We all know lead is toxic – especially to small children -- and that it was banned in household paint a long time ago (1978 to be exact).  But what most people (at least most homeowners don’t know) is that Federal law now requires home renovation firms to be certified and trained in the use of lead-safe work practices before engaging in a project that entails the disturbance of lead painted surfaces – a high likelihood in renovations to just about any home built before 1978.

The intention of this law is to protect occupants and the workers from the potentially harmful ingestion of lead paint particles or dust that are disturbed during the renovation process.  As you might guess, some contractors are less than thrilled with this new requirement.  The certification and training costs them money and the prescribed procedures create more labor and expense.  It’s a controversial topic among contractors to say the least.

However, I’m more interested in how this new law impacts homeowners like me, especially the “pregnant” me I am pretending to be in the following conversation with James A. Kozachek, a construction law and litigation partner/owner at Bisgaier Hoff, LLC, a law firm in the greater NYC area.

I asked James to join me in a little game of She Asked/He Said about lead paint and how this new rule impacts homeowners and home sellers.

Remember, in this scenario, I’m pregnant, so I apologize in advance if my hormones get the best of me.  I’m in full-on-mommy-mode, which makes me about as irritable and protective as a grizzly bear with cubs. Here goes….

Trish: James, my husband and I have found the cutest little 3-bedroom Craftsman bungalow, circa 1972.  There’s room for us, our soon-to-be-born son (I’m expecting in June!), and perhaps another little one in a couple of years or so.  It’s perfect in every way – except my mother-in-law insists we shouldn’t buy an older home because it may have lead paint in it.  I usually ignore her, but in this case, I am concerned.  Should I be?

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