Buying or renting a home or apartment can be stressful. There are numerous things to consider: location, size, price, amenities, safety, etc. In the back of your mind, you might be considering the age of the home or building for future updates or ways to save more on utilities. However, you probably aren’t thinking about health risks such as lead exposure.
According to a Muncie home report, the average house was built in 1959 — towards the end of an era of homes containing lead-based paint. Homes built before 1978 have a strong chance of containing lead-based particles from paint in the walls, windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.
While there are several ways to be exposed to lead, including soil, yard, playgrounds, dust, drinking water, and manufactured products, the CDC reports that lead-based paint “is the most widespread and dangerous high-dose source of lead exposure.”
Don’t be alarmed if you do live in one of Muncie’s older homes. Most likely, the lead has already been removed, but there are some additional precautions that can be taken:
- Get a professional paint inspection
- Have a risk assessment done
- Regularly check for chipping, peeling, or deteriorating paint
- Test the drinking water
These are some of the many examples the Environmental Protection Agency has provided if you do reside in an older home and want to fight against this health risk personally. However, there are responsibilities a homeowner or landlord for a home or apartment has specifically regarding an older building or facility and the potential for lead exposure.
Property Owner’s Responsibilities for Lead in Homes or Apartments
Landlords have legal responsibilities to meet when a new tenant signs a lease. Federal law requires landlords to provide prospective tenants of properties built prior to 1978 with additional information about the risks of lead exposure, including:
- An EPA-approved information pamphlet
- Any known information related to lead-based paint
- A lead disclosure that is attached to the lease
It is the landlord’s responsibility to make you, the tenant, aware of any potential lead exposure. If the landlord fails to warn you and it appears they should have known about the lead exposure, they can be liable for any and all damages that were caused by exposure.
Seeking Recovery for Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning can occur from long-term exposure in adults, but children are much more susceptible to lead poisoning. There are a number of factors that determine what level of exposure or poisoning you have such as age, the age of your home, your hobbies, and the area where you live. In general, a person can seem healthy but have high levels of lead exposure without connecting the symptoms to lead poisoning directly. Some signs and symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- High blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Mood disorders
- Difficulties concentrating
After a diagnosis from your doctor of lead poisoning, you have the right to seek recovery for financial costs. To receive compensation for your damages, it may be necessary to file a claim against your landlord or property owner.
Each case is unique and requires its own course of action. For example, concerns continue to mount over whether or not the local Exide plant is exposing not only its workers to lead, but also those who live near the plant and even families of workers, who may be bringing lead particles home with them. In this case, it’s likely you would file a claim against the plant itself, not the landlord of the home you rent that resides near the plant.
Help from a Muncie Premises Liability Attorney
Lead is a natural element found in the earth, but in high doses, lead can become harmful or fatal. The effects of lead poisoning, especially in children, can be severe and irreversible. Don’t fight a long and hard battle in the courts without adequate representation. Call Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation today or contact us online.