Lead Poisoning Information for Landlords

More than 70% of Rhode Island's housing has potential lead hazards that can poison children. The most prevalent lead exposure in Rhode Island comes from lead-based paint and paint dust found in residences built before 1978.

Landlords are required to disclose lead hazards and maintain their properties to keep them safe. This includes correcting damaged, chipping or flaking paint immediately and following lead safe work practices for repairs. more Note that landlords with employees must also follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

Tenants are responsible for keeping their rental units clean to reduce exposure to lead in paint, dust, and soil. more

What you should do

Disclose lead hazards to tenants and buyers

Rhode Island law requires owners of properties built before 1978 to disclose information about known and potential lead exposure hazards before the sale or lease of residential property. To comply with the law:

  • Keep copies of all lead inspection reports and certifications for as long as you own your property and provide copies to potential tenants and buyers.
  • Include a lead warning and disclosure statement in the lease or sales contract. le
  • Provide tenants with copies of the Rhode Island version of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home and keep written proof of the booklet's distribution for three years or the term of tenancy, whichever period is longer.
  • Know that potential buyers have a 10-day period to conduct a lead inspection or risk assessment before the sales contract takes effect.

Hire licensed lead professionals when you renovate, repair, or paint your property

Follow the Rhode Island Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule when applicable. This Rule applies to landlords working on their own properties, because the EPA considers rent to be a form of compensation. Landlords who wish to perform work regulated by the RRP Rule themselves must get certified  as a Lead Renovator and licensed as a  Lead Renovation Firm. more

If renovations will disturb any amount of exterior lead paint, Department of Environmental Management (DEM)  Regulation 250-RICR-120-05-24, Removal of Lead-Based Paint from Exterior Surfaces, requires you to give neighbors living within 50 feet of your home seven days written notice of the work. There is additional information about the removal of lead based paint from DEM.

Get lead paint liability insurance

The Rhode Island Lead Mitigation Act requires insurance companies to provide lead paint liability insurance to owners of pre-1978 residential rental properties that are in compliance with the Housing Resources Commission Lead Mitigation Regulations. how compliance with these regulations, landlords must receive a Certificate of Lead Conformance or Presumptive Compliance, a Conditional Lead-Safe Certificate, or Full Lead-Safe Certificate from the Department of Health. These are issued by Rhode Island licensed Lead Inspectors or Lead Assessors after property inspections.

Property owners who receive a Notice of Violation from the Department of Health and do not correct all lead violations within 90 days are not eligible for this coverage.

While owner-occupied two- and three-family homes are exempt from HRC Regulations, one of the above certificates is still required for insurance coverage.

Follow the Property Maintenance Code

Landlords must follow the Rhode Island State Property Maintenance Code, which regulates the minimum housing maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, and protection from the elements.  In order to ensure public access, reference copies are also available in the Rhode Island State Library.

Housing Resources Commission Lead Mitigation Regulations

Most landlords who own rental units that were built before 1978 are required to follow state Lead Mitigation Regulations [Link doesn’t work]for lead hazard awareness training, property inspections, and repairs. Note that owner-occupied two- and three-family homes and properties with current Conditional Lead-Safe Certificates, Full Lead-Safe Certificates, or Certifications of Lead-Free Status from the Department of Health are exempt from these regulations. To comply with regulations:

Take a lead hazard awareness class

Classes are offered online or in person at locations across the state.

Visually inspect your property and correct lead hazards

Visually inspect your property at least every two years or at tenant turnover. Look for potential lead hazards such damaged paint, peeling or chipping paint on friction surfaces such as windows, stair treads, and doors.

Promptly respond to any hazards you find and to tenants' reports of potential lead exposure hazards.  Correct damaged paint and wet clean interior surfaces. If renovation, repair, or painting will disturb six square feet or more of paint per room on the interior or 20 square feet or more of paint on the exterior of a pre-1978 house, you are required to hire a licensed Lead Renovation Firm. more about renovating, repair, and painting

Have your property inspected for lead hazards

Landlords are required to hire a licensed Lead Inspector to conduct a Lead Hazard Mitigation Inspection every two years or at tenant turnover, whichever period is longer. details on who can perform lead work Update LHM Names, Form#

If your property passes inspection, you will receive a Certificate of Lead Conformance from the inspector . Even if you are licensed as a Lead Inspector, you cannot inspect your own property.

If you have the same tenants after two years, you may conduct a visual inspection of your property without hiring a licensed inspector.

Provide copies of inspection reports, certificates, and notice forms

  • Provide Lead Inspectors with a copy of your Lead Hazard Awareness Training certificate.
  • Provide tenants with copies of Certificates of Lead Conformance or Presumptive Compliance and Lead Hazard Mitigation Inspections or Affidavits of Completion of Visual Inspection.