Landlord Tenant Disclosures Law and Legal Definition

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued joint regulations, known as the "Disclosure Rule," which became effective September 6, 1996. The rule requires that landlords and their agents of certain rental housing disclose the possible presence of lead based paint on the premises before the effective date of any lease or rental agreement. Landlords and their agents must provide the tenant with an EPA approved lead hazard information pamphlet and comply with other requirements.

The property is covered if it was constructed (that is, the first construction permits were pulled) before 1978, and it does not fit into one of the following exceptions:

  1. 0-bedroom units such as lofts, efficiencies and studios.
  2. rentals of dwelling units for less than a total of 100 days (but periodic tenancies, e.g., month to month, which may go on for more than 100 days are covered). This exception is designed to cover arrangements such as vacation homes.
  3. designated housing for the elderly or handicapped unless it is expected children will live there.
  4. housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead based paint.

The disclosure must be made before the effective date of the rental agreement.

The law contains provisions aimed at deterring failure to disclose. In the event of lead poisoning which can be traced to lead hazard in the rental unit, the landlord would be liable for triple the tenant's actual damages plus penalties. There are also disclosure laws which deal with the landlord's duty to inform tenants of the presence of asbestos on the premises.