Testing For Lead Paint When Purchasing An Older Apartment Complex

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There are still many apartment buildings in sound condition that were built several decades ago. Prospective buyers of any apartment building constructed prior to 1978 may need to test the apartments for the presence of lead paint.

An older apartment building maintained in good condition is often just as functional as many newer properties. However, the paint used prior to 1978 may have contained lead as a content. If the seller of the property has no definitive knowledge concerning the presence of lead paint, you have a federally mandated period in which to conduct your own testing.

Paints prior to 1978

The use of lead in consumer paints was banned in 1978. Since then, several layers of paint have most likely been applied in most older apartments. Although underlying lead paint is not necessarily harmful if left undisturbed, paint in some areas is subject to heavier wear. Lead can potentially be released in high-traffic areas, as well as through the natural process of peeling and decay.

There are certain areas in each apartment where older lead paint may become uncovered. The paint on door frames, window sills, and stair railings is subject to increased wear and tear. If the underlying lead paint is exposed, the occupants of the residence are potentially at a higher health risk.

Inspection period

The applicable federal regulation requires the seller of an apartment building to disclose information about lead paint only if the information is already known. Even if there is no known information at the time of your contract, the seller is required to allow you 10 days to inspect the building specifically for lead paint.

Testing methods

There are generally two methods of testing for the presence of lead paint. One is a laboratory test of the wall paint. Small representative samples from several wall sections are removed and tested for lead content. The other method is performed on site. A portable device uses a technology referred to as x-ray fluorescence to measure the level of lead without disturbing the painted surface.

The age of an apartment building is a major factor in deciding whether or not to test for lead paint. The presence of lead paint certainly has an impact on the market value of a residential property. Potential occupants are likely to have their own concerns about lead paint in an older building, especially if they have children.

The confirmation that the paint in your apartment complex is lead-free is a strong selling point for the residents of your building. Contact a real estate company for further information about inspecting older apartment buildings in order to maintain their value and appeal. 

For building inspections, click on this link http://www.homeinspectionassoc-ma.com or do an online search.