Filing A Civil Lead Disclosure Lawsuit
Federal and Indiana state law are clear on lead paint. Home sellers and landlords are required to disclose the presence, location and condition of lead paint when they have this knowledge. Lead disclosure can prevent severe injuries and serious developmental delays in children. Lead disclosure is mandatory under current federal law and regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Tragically, unscrupulous landlords and home sellers frequently conceal their knowledge of lead-based paint hazards in order to trick unsuspecting buyers and renters into purchasing unsafe units and homes.
Failing to disclose the presence of lead paint-based hazards is illegal. Home sellers and buyers who break the law and conceal the presence of lead paint face harsh criminal penalties, but civil action may also be possible. If you believe that a home seller or buyer failed to disclose the presence of lead paint, endangering the lives and health of your family, you may be eligible to pursue a private civil lawsuit against them. In a civil lawsuit, you can pursue valuable financial compensation to finance home modifications, including lead paint remediation, necessary medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Indiana Law Protects Home Buyers, Renters
Thanks to reforms from Indiana’s legislature, home buyers and other purchasers of residential property enjoy unprecedented protections in purchasing real estate. It wasn’t so long ago that the prevailing adage in Indiana home buying was “buyer beware” – home purchasers, not sellers, had the obligation to root out problems with a property prior to purchase.
But things have changed. Today, most home sellers are required to disclose issues to buyers, with big penalties for sellers who conceal or hide known problems. These requirements are no more important than in the area of lead paint.
Indiana’s state-based disclosure requirements were strengthened in 1992, when the federal Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, or Title X. Among other provisions, this law directed the Office of Housing and Urban Development, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, to require the disclosure of known information on lead-based pain and related hazards before the sale or lease of housing built before 1978.
Lead Paint Disclosure Requirements
Today, home buyers are entitled to receive complete information about the use of lead-based paint in the home they are purchasing. Before a contract of sale or lease can be ratified, home sellers and landlords are required to disclose any and all known information they have on lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. In addition, sellers and landlords must also disclose the location of any lead-based paint and the current condition of these surfaces.
But the requirements only start there. Prior to the finalization of a sale or lease, sellers and landlords are also required to provide buyers with any applicable records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint, including reports involving common areas and other units in multi-unit buildings, when this information was derived from building-wide evaluations.
In addition to these requirements, home sellers and landlords are required to provide buyers and renters with an EPA-approved information pamphlet (“Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home”) on locating, identifying and managing lead-based paint hazards. As an attachment to the contract or the lease, sellers and landlords must also include a Lead Warning Statement that confirms the seller has complied with all necessary requirements. Sellers and landlords are required to maintain copies of their disclosure documents for no fewer than three years from the date of sale or the date of the leasing period.
Finally, and not incidentally, sellers and landlords are required to provide buyers and renters with a 10-day period to conduct a full paint inspection of their new home or unit, including a risk assessment focused on lead-based paint hazards.
Where Is Lead-Based Paint Found?
Things changed for the better in 1978. Before that date, most homes were painted with lead-based paint, a material we now know presents significant health hazards to residents. Lead from paint, including lead-containing dust, is among the most common causes of lead poisoning in the contiguous United States. In 1978, Congress put an end to the practice, banning the use of lead-based paints in consumer applications, including house painting.
Lead-based paint used to be the norm. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 24% of all residences built between 1960 and 1977 used lead-based paints to brighten the home. Things were even worse earlier. Between 1940 and 1959, 69% of all homes contained lead-based paint, and 87% of homes constructed before 1940 were similarly contaminated.
There are still millions of homes in America contaminated by lead paint. In many cases, layers of lead-based paint have been coated over by new coats, but the threat remains lurking under the surface. Under certain circumstances, when the paint is still in good shape, lead paint isn’t much of a problem. But it becomes a major issue once the paint begins to deteriorate.
When lead paint starts to peel, chip, chalk, crack or becomes damp, it becomes an immediate hazard to resident health, contributing to lead poisoning and other serious health problems.
Learn More In A Free Consultation
Were you or a loved one injured after being exposed to lead paint in the home? Do you believe that an unscrupulous home seller or landlord failed to disclose the presence of lead paint to your home? Are you looking for justice? Our dedicated legal team is here to help. Our experienced Indiana attorneys have been holding home sellers and landlords accountable for decades.
Learn more about your family’s legal options in a free, confidential consultation today. You can find more information about your legal rights at no charge and no obligation. Just contact our attorneys now and secure a free consultation. We can walk you through your legal options in understandable language – no legal jargon. Even better, our attorneys always offer their services on a contingency-fee basis, so you owe us nothing unless we secure compensation in your case.