Are you buying or selling a home that was built prior to 1978? There’s a good chance there is lead paint in the home and as one of the only disclosures that is federally mandated, having lead paint can pose some challenges whether you’re buying or selling.

Why Lead Paint is an Issue

Lead is a toxic substance that can affect any and all organs in the body. Prior to 1978, lead was used to make paint. Lead is especially harmful to children six years of age or younger due to their itch to explore and consume things.

Another big issue with lead paint is that even if you paint over it with modern paint, the risk is not eliminated. It can still vaporize and be inhaled through non-lead-based paints.

What You Need to Know About Selling a Home with Lead Paint

  1. You must disclose any known information regarding the lead paint in your home
  2. You are not required to test for lead-based paint
  3. Potential buyers have ten days to conduct a lead paint test (or any other mutually agreeable time period)
  4. In Massachusetts, the new owners must receive a Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification and Certification
  5. For most other states buyers must receive the pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home.

Frequently Asked Buyer Questions:

Why do we need to specify if we want to perform a lead paint test or not if it is not part of the negotiation?

It is federal law; the Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification must be presented before the sale of a home if it was built before 1978. It’s a way to protect children against the possibility of lead poisoning. As a first-time home buyer, this might sound very scary so it is important to explain it fully and it is important to understand the disclosure and the possible risks and responsibilities to resolve if necessary.

Is my deposit still protected if we decide to test, lead is found, and are no longer interested in the property?

This depends on the way your contract is structured. So be sure to check with your agent and understand the time in which you need to decide if you are going to move forward with the sale or not.

What is my obligation/responsibility if lead paint is found?

If a child under the age of 6 is living in the home, the property must be brought into compliance.

If we decide to not have the test performed can we do so at a later date?

Yes, you can have a lead paint test performed at any point in time once you take ownership of a property.


The state of Massachusetts offers some financial assistance when it comes to deleading your home. These include credits and different types of loans to assist with the removal of the toxic paint. for more information on various options and which would best fit your needs, visit the Mass.gov website.

Florida, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine

For residents of Florida, the Floridahealth.gov website offers a ton of information regarding lead poisoning and other prevention tips.  In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed a rule called the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule requiring firms to use EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices when having work done. The state of New Hampshire has a whole page dedicated to lead paint information including info for property owners and landlords, info about state rules and regulations, and more. For those living in Connecticut, there is plenty of information regarding lead paint laws and regulations on Connecticut.gov! In Maine, landlords are required to provide certain disclosures to their tenants about lead paint. 

Additional Resources