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I live in an apartment in a more than 100 year old house in MA.<br><br>
I have gotten advice from my lawyer - even though it's an owner occupied two family, the landlord cannot evict me for having a child if I ask for a lead inspection. This is not the case in general - federal housing law prohibits discrimination against people with children in housing, but has a specific exemption for two-family owner-occupied homes. The lead law does not.<br><br>
I am meeting with the lawyer tomorrow to get more details.<br><br>
What is the process actually like?<br><br>
I understand that legally, it's all on her. She'll have to hire movers to get my stuff out and bring it back, she'll have to put me up in a motel, she'll have to get all the lead out, and she can get a government loan to cover all of it with no interest/payments until she sells the house. And she'll get a tax credit.<br><br>
But for me, as a tenant - I'm worried this is going to be a bad, bad thing. I know it's the right thing to do, but the prospect of packing EVERYTHING up only to move it all back in is daunting. I was planning a major declutter, shuffling of bedroom and living room before the baby comes, but this means packing up everything in the kitchen, too.<br><br>
Can anyone tell me about their experiences? Bonus points if you've done this while 7-8 months pregnant.<br><br>
I'm not really debating if I should do this - I have to do it to secure my housing. Even if I were to move, I have never seen a lead compliant apartment advertised in my town, and I have looked for apartments a lot around here, so it would mean starting this same process over again with a new landlord.<br><br>
Also, does anyone know if it's worthwhile for me to get a lead test while pregnant?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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We did have lead abatement done for part of our apartment (a 2nd bedroom that was to be the baby's room) when I was pregnant with my first, but you've clearly done much more research about the process than we did. In our case, it didn't take long, and we stayed with family while the work was being done. We moved everything out of that room and they sealed it, but everything else stayed in the apt.<br><br>
I will say, the landlord chose to go the cheap route, and took the charm out of the room by replacing the original doors with cheapo big box store ones and completely removing all of the original (beautiful) woodwork/trim. He didn't save anything. He just had the room stripped bare and discared it all, put up new wallboard without any trim and had it all painted.<br><br>
For woodwork in the other parts of the unit, we agreed with the landlord to paint over the leaded trim with leadblocker paint to encapsulate it (our idea, not his) and all the windows and doors were already lead-free replacements.<br><br>
One of our concerns was whether the landlord would jack up our rent. I have no idea about the legalities of rent increases and am no longer a renter, but maybe something to consider.<br><br>
I did have a lead test while 7 or 8 months pregnant, because we had done much of the reno work on the rest of the apartment (pre-pregnancy) before we knew about the issues, and it came back fine.<br><br>
However, there was lead exposure from somewhere, whether the apt. or toys or something else, b/c my ds had elevated lead levels (just above) at a year and so did my dd (she never lived in that apt., but we moved and bought our own old home), both resolved with iron supplements. If I had it to do over living in old houses with kids, I'd probably test them at 6-9 months (when they start spending more time on the floor) and just give the iron supplements as a preventative.<br><br>
Though it seems daunting to pack everything up, it's probably worth having done before the baby is born, esp. of you're planning to remain there beyond baby's first year. Have some friends over for a big packing party, and enjoy all the freshly painted walls once you move back in <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MAMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15403542"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One of our concerns was whether the landlord would jack up our rent. I have no idea about the legalities of rent increases and am no longer a renter, but maybe something to consider.</div>
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That I do know about - they can't raise the rent within six months, or it's automatically considered to be retaliation, unless they can prove it isn't. Beyond six months, the tenant would still have a decent claim that it's retaliatory, but would have to prove it.<br><br>
Thanks for sharing your experience!<br><br>
I have no doubt my landlady would go for getting more lead out vs. encapsulating, and to be honest, while the wainscotting and stuff in here is cute...it was kind of done on the cheap and in a hurry. There's an eight inch spot where there's no chair rail in my bedroom, it looks like they just ran out eight inches short of the wall and called it a day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Lots of stuff like that with the trim in here...and it's downright gross how many gloppy layers of paint are on some of the (not fancy, not pretty) door frames.
 

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I'd do it, too. My older kids had elevated lead levels and it was so hard to delead with baby around. We're now in a deleaded unit and I'm so much easier in my mind about this baby learning to crawl!<br><br>
Are you planning to stay in that apt? If you are planning a move in the next year or so, I guess for reasons of fairness to the landlord, I'd move now, but if you plan to stay, go ahead and have it done. When you do leave, they can charge more for that apt as a dealeaded one....great advertising point around here!
 

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Packing and unpacking is much better than lead poisoning. You can get a simple lead test yourself at Lowes or Home Depot before going the lawyer route. If you get kicked out later for it, you didn't want to be her tenant anyway.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We're in sort of a simliar situation. Our apartment is being tested later this month and I'm due in about five weeks. Really really hoping that there are no or at least limited lead hazards here. The house isn't that old, though it's pre 1979 and the paint certainly doesn't look 30 years old. So we'll see.<br><br>
I'm thinking that if there is lead here, it would only be in certain areas. I doubt it's the whole house. Lots of the house is drywall for starters.<br><br>
I was very worried about what the landlord might do, but he's honestly been really great. We just signed a new lease (for a year) at the same old rate of rent. He did mention encapsulation, which I've heard is the easier, quicker and simpler route.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hannah32</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15411234"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He did mention encapsulation, which I've heard is the easier, quicker and simpler route.</div>
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IIRC, encapsulation does comply with the lead laws, but it only works for places like trim, molding, walls. It won't work for doorways or windows, because it is too thick, plus the paint tends to get worn away in those areas (creating lead dust and/or chips).
 

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Papa -- I'm a lead paint freak. So I'd definitely go for it. That being said, though your landlord can't legally do anything when you inquire about lead, there are many shady ways that she could get out of it, like suddenly deciding to sell that part of the house, or suddenly deciding to do major renovations, etc. So, though you've gotten legal counsel, I think it's good to be prepared for the strange things landlords sometimes try to do.<br><br>
Our previous landlords deleaded the place before we moved in (for us). They got the state loan that was 0% interest until they sold the house. It took a while for that to go through and then longer to find a company to do the deleading. I'm not sure whether that's because the state contracts with certain companies, or the loan only goes up to a certain amount that the state thinks it should cost -- but I think it was hard to find someone to do it. All told, the process took at least three months, with the deleading itself taking about 2 weeks. So, I'd start NOW for sure, given how far along you are.<br><br>
I'd also still keep your eye out for other apartments, just so you have multiple options....not fun, but just as back up.<br><br>
Good luck figuring this out!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MAMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15417119"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">IIRC, encapsulation does comply with the lead laws, but it only works for places like trim, molding, walls. It won't work for doorways or windows, because it is too thick, plus the paint tends to get worn away in those areas (creating lead dust and/or chips).</div>
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Yes, this is completely right. In fact, encapsulations is often considered to be BETTER when done properly, so long as the encapsulating paint is in good shape, because removing the lead paint creates a lot of dust.<br><br>
Any loose paint does need to be removed prior to encapsculating, and as of recently, this work must be done by a licensed professional. The EPA website has all the rules.<br><br>
Megin - jeez, louise! Good to know. I figured it might be a month or so, it never occurred to me that it could take that long. I'm talking to her this week. I'm not too worried about her retaliating...I mean, she might come up with a reason to get me out, but she'd have a hard time with that.
 

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I'm so happy! Our apartment tested very low on the inside, no hazards that need to be dealt with. The ONE instance of lead paint occurs in the outer doorway of a common area hallway. It's beyond where the door actually touches, our side of it is fine. The landlord is taking care of it and I DO NOT have to go anywhere this last month of my pregnancy. And I can set up my baby's room! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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I would tread very, very lightly on this issue. I am a landlord who chose to delead before I put my property on the market to rent it out. I really do believe that this is a landlord's resposibility, BUT I do have a different point of view. So let me give you a taste of how complicated it is....<br><br>
It took us about two years to get out house deleaded from start to finish. Yes there are government agencies to help and we did get a loan, but it did not cover the whole cost. AND we were told there was no way to get the loan fast tracked if there wasn't already a documented case of lead poisoning. It was a huge amount of red tape and took forever.<br><br>
So here is the thing, many landlords face with deleading will put the house on the market and sell it instead of deleading. I am sure this happens some times because the landlord is cheap and doesn't want to pay the money to delead. But the reality is that if a landlord doesn't have the cash to start the process, that is the only legal option.<br><br>
There are many ways to keep your kids safe from lead that do not involve full deleading. I would suggest you look into these and see how you feel about them. I wold also suggest bringing your landlord on board and working together. Yes they are responsible for keeping you safe from lead, but requesting a full lead inspection sets a ball rolling that you may both regret.
 

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But how can you just talk about the issue with the landlord and follow the MA Lead Law? It is the strictest in the nation. Any landlord that pursues alternative methods for avoiding lead poisoning would be exposing themselves to mega liability, wouldn't they?<br><br>
Deleading in MA is part of the price of doing business. I've got limited sympathy for landlords who try and avoid their responsibility or don't plan that they'll ever have tenants with kids. Really, what this creates is a massive incentive for them to illegally discriminate against tenants with children. It's expensive enough to live in this state and not be able to afford to buy a house without this hurdle added on.<br><br>
I'm just glad that my apartment is lead free and that my landlord is a stand-up guy. Whew....
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hannah32</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15445635"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But how can you just talk about the issue with the landlord and follow the MA Lead Law? It is the strictest in the nation. Any landlord that pursues alternative methods for avoiding lead poisoning would be exposing themselves to mega liability, wouldn't they?</div>
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Yes, once you have a full lead inspection, you are boxed in. But simply replacing all of the windows is a HUGE start that is totally win-win. Once again, I am a landlord who did delead. But I am in the minority. We have the strictest laws in the nation and they make it almost prohbitive to remove lead. But most kids are still raised around lead and lead poisoning is rare.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Deleading in MA is part of the price of doing business. I've got limited sympathy for landlords who try and avoid their responsibility or don't plan that they'll ever have tenants with kids.</td>
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It isn't about having sympathy, it is about having betweeen 10-75 thousand dollars kicking around. Once again, I completely agree that landlords should delead when a propery is vacant. But when a family is living in the propery and needs to be relocated, the cost becomes beyond what most people can front. My point is not that the landlord should get out of anything, but going through the process of a full lead inspection generally does not end well.
 

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Well, the issue is mostly moot for me. My landlord told me under no uncertain terms that she won't do anything. No way, no how. She is considering right now whether to keep me as a tenant or to ask me to leave, which is also technically illegal.<br><br>
Obviously, this is illegal, but I can't really do anything about it. I live in an apartment in her house, I'm not going to live in close proximity to someone who wants me out.<br><br>
I am looking into alternatives.<br><br>
I would look into workarounds, like encapsulating paint on the problem areas, etc, but the biggest problem for me is that the paint on the outside of the house is lead, and it is FALLING OFF in large areas, the window sills are basically little piles of lead pain dust that blow every time a window is opened.<br><br>
I've been tested for lead exposure, and I"m curious to see what those levels are. I am considering getting my pets tested as well, I'm talking to my vet about it this week. I had no idea lead paint was such a serious issue in MA.<br><br>
Also, lead poisoning is not particularly rare.<br><br>
I quote from this CDC document: <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/StrategicElimPlans/MAStrategic%20Plan8-04.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/Strateg...20Plan8-04.pdf</a><br><br>
"In calendar year 2003, 1.0% (2,289 children) of the 235,894 Massachusetts children screened were confirmed with EBLLs of 10 μg/dL or above and received case management services from Massachusetts CLPPP.7"<br><br>
Their stated goal in 2004 was to eliminate lead poisoning by 2010, that has not been achieved.<br><br>
MA has the highest rate of lead poisoning in the country, in part because the houses are older than the rest of the country and on average, about a third of children live in rental housing, vs. 20% nationwide.<br><br>
Also, MA has obvious wealth disparities - being poor is a huge risk factor for lead poisoning.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>FtMPapa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15446036"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, the issue is mostly moot for me. My landlord told me under no uncertain terms that she won't do anything. No way, no how. She is considering right now whether to keep me as a tenant or to ask me to leave, which is also technically illegal.</div>
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I am so sorry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> It sounds like the lead in this apartment is beyond dangerous and not containable.
 

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It's legally required that all apartments where children live be inspected for lead, so I don't get your point, pumpkingirl.<br><br>
If landlords can't afford to keep their apartments up to standard, they don't have to be landlords. It's a business choice and they need to comply with the laws. If they don't have the money, too bad. Find another job.<br><br>
As for FtMPapa, if she asks you to leave, I'd report her for housing discrimination. You can still leave, but she should not be allowed to avoid accountability, IMO.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hannah32</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15448638"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If landlords can't afford to keep their apartments up to standard, they don't have to be landlords. It's a business choice and they need to comply with the laws. If they don't have the money, too bad. Find another job.</div>
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That is exactly my point. If they don't have the money, they put the house up for sale. Tenents get legally evicted. Lose-lose all around.
 
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