Living in an apartment with lead-based paint can be extremely dangerous. If your child has been exposed to lead paint in an apartment, you may be able to sue. This is because various California and federal laws protect renters and penalize landlords and others regarding lead poisoning and exposure to lead-based paint.
Why Are There Laws Addressing Lead-Based Paint In Apartment Rentals?
In the mid-1900’s health officials gradually began to discover and become aware of the dangers regarding exposure to lead. Studies showed that lead exposure had the potential to cause serious health issues in both adults and children. And lead was used in the manufacture of all sorts of products—from gasoline to plumbing pipes to paint. Armed with this knowledge, states and the federal government began to pass laws to protect citizens from excessive exposure to lead.
For children, the harm of exposure to lead is extreme because their bodies absorb lead more easily and they are more sensitive to lead’s toxic effects on the nervous system. It can begin with being born prematurely or with a low birth rate. The consequences do not end there. Children who are exposed to and ingest lead-based paint may have:
- Behavior and learning problems,
- Lower IQ,
- Slowed growth,
- Hearing problems,
- Anemia, and
Lead poisoning in children is a serious medical condition that affects many organs and tissues, including the heart, bones, intestines, and reproductive and nervous systems.
What Are Some of the Laws Regarding Lead-Based Paint?
When health and medical professionals began to make the dangers of lead exposure clear, the legal system responded. Lead poisoning attorneys are well versed in lead-based paint in apartment cases and can best address the various laws set out to protect your child. There are federal and state laws addressing many areas of concern regarding lead-based paint and housing rentals. Federal protections require that landlords:
- Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint,
- Disclose specific information such as the location of the lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, and
- Provide any records and reports on lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards which are available.
In addition, California bans “lead hazards” in any dwelling or on the premises on which a dwelling is located. The law defines “lead hazards” as:
- Deteriorated lead-based paint,
- Lead-contaminated dust, and
- Lead-contaminated soil.
Tenants’ rights attorneys know the nuances of these and other laws and regulations. Their advocacy helps protect children who may be affected by living in an apartment with lead-based paint.
Are There Exceptions to the Lead-Based Apartment Laws?
As with most laws, there are exceptions. These are some of the properties not covered by the federal regulations:
- Housing for which a construction permit was obtained, or on which construction was started, after January 1, 1978,
- Short-term vacation rentals of 100 days or less,
- A single room rented in a residential dwelling,
- Housing certified as lead-free by a state-accredited lead inspector,
- Housing designed for persons with disabilities, and
- Certain retirement communities.
In California, another exception could occur. Consider a situation when a landlord did not know that a former tenant repainted several rooms in an apartment with lead-based paint. The landlord painted over that paint with lead-free paint before a new tenant leased the apartment. In this situation, the court may not hold the landlord liable for injuries resulting from the lead paint in an apartment.
I Think My Child May Be Living in an Apartment with Lead-Based Paint. What Should I Do?
The Environmental Protection Agency offers resources to learn about lead hazards, testing your child, finding a trained lead inspector, and more. If your child is feeling ill or if you fear they have been exposed to lead-based paint, you should immediately seek medical attention. Your child may be facing serious health risks such as those listed above, so it is best to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
But dealing with lead paint in an apartment involves more than tending to your child’s immediate medical diagnosis and treatment. You should also be concerned about making sure that you and your child are financially compensated for the harm suffered from exposure to lead paint in an apartment.
Know that exposure to lead-based paint in apartments may also cause you and your child mental anguish, lost wages, relocation costs, educational expenses, medical bills, and more. The law may find you and your child entitled to compensation because of these issues. This compensation can help make your child whole by providing the resources you need to care for their future medical and educational needs. But getting the compensation your child deserves on your own is not easy. You will likely need the help of legal professionals to help you navigate the process. Therefore, you should contact an experienced law firm you can trust right away.
Can I Sue If My Child Has Been Living in a Lead-Based Paint Apartment?
An experienced lawyer can review your situation and advise you on whether you can sue your landlord or the manufacturer of the lead-based paint.
You should always work with a lawyer because lead-based paint apartment cases:
- Are legally sophisticated,
- Require proof and analysis of the relevant scientific and medical issues, and
- Should be led by someone who has the ability to negotiate or—if negotiations fail—go to trial.
For quality representation that gets results, turn to lead poisoning injury attorneys with a proven track record.
Riley | Ersoff LLP & Shakhnis
Our tenant’s rights attorneys at Riley | Ersoff LLP & Shakhnis have represented hundreds of tenants and achieved millions of dollars in damages awards. We specialize in lead poisoning, illegal evictions, carbon monoxide cases, and more. If your landlord is treating you unfairly or allowing your family to be exposed to potential harm from lead-based paint, we want to hear from you. We understand the stress and fear your landlord’s actions may be causing you. We want to help you provide a safe home—free of concerns about lead poisoning—for your family.
Our firm has a reputation of excellence in the legal community and a satisfied client base. For decades we have provided trustworthy legal representation. Call us today at 866-548-6137 (en Español, 888-492-7317). You can also reach us online. We provide a free consultation and have a policy of no recovery, no fee.