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What is the Massachusetts lead paint law and how does it work?

As one of the oldest states in the United States, Massachusetts contains many older homes. Some of these homes were or are wrought with various hazards, among them lead paint. Hundreds of young children are poisoned by lead paint each year in Massachusetts. Because of this, Massachusetts law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes that were built before 1978 and where any children under the age of six live.[1]

Owners of property are required to comply with the law in one of two ways. First, the owner may have all lead hazards removed or covered. The owner must hire a licensed lead inspector to test the home for lead and record all lead hazards. After, the owner will receive a Letter of Full Compliance.

Another way that a property owner may comply with the law is by having only urgent lead hazards corrected, while controlling the remaining hazards. This method is known as “interim control” and requires that the owner hire a licensed risk assessor who explains what work needs to be done for interim control.[2]

The law states that a rental property owner may be liable for a child who suffers from lead poisoning. Also, “an owner cannot avoid liability by asking tenants to sign an agreement that they accept the presence of lead paint.”[3] Additionally, an owner cannot evict, or refuse to rent to anyone because of lead paint.[4]

Suppose that a child is admitted to the emergency room with lead poisoning. In this instance, a physician is to notify the Massachusetts director, “the lead poisoning control director” about the child victim.[5] The law allows the director to inspect the premises where the victim of poisoning resides or has resided within the past twelve months.[6] The director may seek the support of any local board of health or even a court to issue a warrant for a property owner who does not give access to the premises.[7] Any dangerous levels of lead found on the premises must be reported immediately to the owner of the building and all tenants.[8] The owner must correct any lead violations. The director keeps a public record of all inspections in this manner.

For lead paint emergencies, be sure to contact your local emergency personnel. To reach the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, dial 1-617-624-5757 or 1-800-532-9571.

If you would like to learn more about being made whole as a result of damage that you’ve incurred, or if you would like to learn more about damages in a personal injury case, call us for a free consultation at 617-657-HURT (4878) or fill out our contact form here.

[1] What does the Lead Law require?

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Mass. Gen. Laws, ch 111 § 189A

[6] Mass. Gen. Laws, ch 111 § 194

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

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