My husband and I rent a house in Boston built around 1925. When we signed the lease last summer, we acknowledged that the apartment had not been tested for lead, but by law if there is a child under the age of 6, the landlord is required to inspect the house for lead, and if necessary, remove/cover the lead. We're now 7.5 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and on top of all the other things to think about, we most likely live in a leaded apartment.
Not that I'm going around eating paint chips or anything, but there are a few places in the house that are kind of sketchy- mainly the old window frames (very dirty and full of paint chips). I think we need to tell our landlord we're pregnant, and by law we're protected from eviction, and they would have to pay for temp housing until the apartment had been inspected, deleaded, and cleaned.
I know MA law is pretty strict about this law, and I'm curious to hear about your experiences, especially if you were renting when you got pregnant. How did you handle? How big of a deal is the deleading process?
There was a thread last year on this topic with quite a few repiles that cover some of your questions:
It's really the lead dust, generated by the chipping paint, which is spread throughout the home when you open/close windows/doors, that poses the concern (though of course if a child were to eat lead chips it would be an issue).
Certainly if you are planning to stay there once baby is born, the lead dust would be a big concern. Babies are constantly putting their hands in their mouths, they & their toys are going to be on the floor.
One of the other issues is if any scraping/sanding/renovations was done in the past (even before you lived there) without encapsulation & proper lead cleaning procedures, lead dust can persist for a long time.
If all the windows have lead paint, the deleading is going to be a big deal and very costly for the landlord. Do you know if the walls doors and the trim have lead paint? You can buy the test sticks at home depot or lowe's - they are not 100%, but in my experience they were pretty accurate with the results (we also had someone come in with the lead testing "gun" to verify as well).
Good luck - it's really stressful dealing with lead issues! Hope you're able to work something out with your landlord.
It is true they can't evict you, but if you bring it up, don't be surprised if they raise the rent or decide not to continue renting the property once your lease is up. Getting a Boston apt. with kids is a pain. Every potential place is mysteriously rented out as soon as you bring up little people. Good luck!
I think that since you signed the lease when you weren't pregnant or had a child, he's not obligated to get the place de leaded for the rest of your lease. You should probably start searching for another apartment. When you do, ask if it's been tested for lead (ask to see a certificate claiming it's lead free if they tell you it's been tested.)
DaughterofKali, that's not actually true in MA. They are legally required to test and delead regardless of when you started renting if you have kids in the apartment. There are very strict lead laws in MA that favor tenants. I can't speak for whether or not a landlord will try to retaliate if you decide to stay and have them test/delead.
I was pregnant when we signed a lease, but I did not know it at the time. When I was 12 weeks I told them I was pregnant and they would need to test for lead. They initially said that I signed a document stating that there may be lead in the apartment and I responded that yes, I did, but they are still legally required to test. And so they did, and our place was found to be lead-free. We moved out before we had the baby though (unexpectedly, but it was a month-to-month lease so it was ok).
I guess if they find lead you have a big decision on your hands, but I would have them start testing ASAP if you can so you can plan before you get too big. My understanding is that the deleading process is insanely complicated and they will have to place you in a hotel for the duration.