In Case of Emergency

If a child has severe symptoms of lead poisoning, such as vomiting or seizures, get immediate help by calling 911.  If a child is suspected of being exposed to lead, make an appointment with the child's health care provider or county health department to have a blood test done.

Lead and The Law

The law has plenty to say about lead hazards and rental property. Most laws will be no problem if you:

  1. Disclose to your tenants what you know about lead in your rental units (make sure to properly document the disclosure).
  2. Keep up basic maintenance.
  3. Respond promptly and thoroughly to complaints about lead.


Federal Disclosure Requirements

A federal law referred to as Title X requires that landlords disclose all known lead hazards in housing to prospective tenants prior to lease signing. It also requires that tenants be provided specific information on lead-based paint hazards in housing. The law is very specific about what must be done and how records are to be kept. Every landlord should become familiar with the requirements of Title X. Federal investigators actively enforce this law in west Michigan.  For more information, see the Disclosure Resources on the right side of this page.


Federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule)

The EPA requires the following of all landlords and contractors performing renovations, repairs, or painting that may disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes:

  1. Must be trained and EPA Lead-Safe Certified.
  2. Must use lead-safe work practices.

If your renovation activities are disturbing any area of more than six square feet inside a rental unit or 20 square feet outside, or if you are disturbing any paint on windows, you must be trained, certified, and use lead-safe work practices. To not do so is violation of federal law.

This regulation includes the management company or rental property owner’s in-house maintenance staff. If you or your staff do not want to be certified, it is recommended that all repairs subject to the rule be contracted out to certified firms. 

For more information on lead-safe work practices, see the EPA's Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting and the EPA's Guide to Renovate Right. To learn more about the EPA Lead-Safe Certification, visit the the EPA Lead-Safe Certification page.


City of Grand Rapids Housing Code

The City of Grand Rapids follows the International Property Maintenance Code; however, Grand Rapids also requires four primary actions regarding lead-based paint hazards:

  1. Prohibition on peeling and chipping paint.
  2. Prohibition on paint chips and residue lying on the ground or horizontal surfaces (this includes window troughs).
  3. Prohibition on bare soil within 30 inches of any structure (enforced seasonally).
  4. Requirement that lead-safe work practices are used when working on pre-1978 housing.

The City requires that all rental property be registered. In addition, all rental property must be certified, which involves undergoing periodic inspections. The lead paint code items above are included as part of this Certification inspection. For more information on City of Grand Rapids Housing Code, call (616) 456-3053.


Kent County Housing Regulation

The Kent County Housing Regulation comes into play when there is a child with an elevated blood lead level living in a rental unit. In these cases, County regulation permits the Kent County Health Department to conduct inspections to uncover lead hazards and to order repairs. The County will then notify the property owner, giving him or her a short time to make repairs. If the repairs are not made, the property can be condemned for occupancy.

If a property is condemned, the resident family will need to vacate the unit immediately and the unit will need to remain vacant until all lead repairs are made and the property passes re-inspection. Condemnation is expensive, as it prohibits landlords from collecting rents until the hazards are repaired.


Michigan Public Act 434

Michigan Public Act 434 permits civil penalties for landlords who knowingly rent units with lead hazards to families with children who have elevated blood-lead levels. Penalties can include jail time and fines.

Michigan housing law permits the local public health department to inspect rental units when there are suspected health hazards, including when a resident child is found to be lead poisoned. A landlord who has received notice of a governmental inspection and its findings of lead hazards should be concerned and immediately responsive to orders for repairs. PA 434 does not apply to risk assessment and inspections conducted by private contractors on behalf of the landlord.

PA 434 is used when landlords do not respond to orders to repair hazardous property. Your best defense, other than maintaining lead-safe properties, is a prompt response to all notices.


Civil Liability

On occasion, tenants with lead-poisoned children will try to sue their landlord and/or his or her insurance company for damages related to their child's condition. The best way to protect yourself from these lawsuits is to eliminate lead hazards in your housing, be proactive with maintenance, and respond promptly to complaints. For more information on maintaining a lead-safe property, see the Lead Repairs page.

If you need further help dealing with lead and the law, always feel free to contact the Healthy Homes Coalition.


Did You Know...

Lead-based paint, lead dust, and lead in the soil are the cause of nine out of ten childhood lead poisoning cases in Kent County, Michigan.


Disclosure Fact Sheet(418 KB)

A discloure fact sheet developed by the Healthy Homes Coalition with cooperation from US-EPA Region 5 enforcement staff.

Disclosure HUD EPA Fact Sheet(37 KB)

A discloure fact sheet provided by HUD and EPA

Disclosure EPA FAQ(22 KB)

Frequently asked questions about the federal disclosure rule.

Disclosure Form for Renters (English)(172 KB)

The federally-required form for documenting disclosure when renting an apartment (English version).

Disclosure Form for Renters (Spanish)(176 KB)

The federally-required form for documenting disclosure when renting an apartment (Spanish version).

Disclosure Sample Form Seller(168 KB)

The federally-required disclosure form for home sales.

EPA Disclosure Booklet(1.5 MB)

The EPA-required disclsoure booklet in black and white, ready for two-sided printing.

EPA Disclosure Booklet Spanish(1.5 MB)

The EPA-required disclsoure booklet in Spanish.

EPA Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting(899 KB)

Guide to following the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule).

EPA Guide to Renovate Right(6.5 MB)

EPA's Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right.

Grand Rapids Housing Code Lead Paint(77 KB)

Grand Rapids supplimental housing code citations regarding lead-based paint.

Kent County Housing Regulation(187 KB)

Kent County Housing Regulation regarding orders and condemnation of housing where children are lead poisoned.

Michigan Public Act 434(37 KB)

State of Michigan law permitting prosecution of rental property owners who fail to correct lead violations in housing where lead poisoned children reside.

Healthy Homes in the News

Parents, a Healthy Homes Coalition board member, and staff were all featured on a Michigan Radio news story. We are sharing it here in case you missed it.

In the words of one of Healthy Homes’ newest board members, grandparent Lisa Matthews, "“People think (lead) is a small problem, but it’s a very big problem. I know it takes time to do something about it … I’m just sayin’ what are we going to do now?”

Healthy Homes is eager to begin working with the City and community partners to implement the solutions recommended in this report.

Join the Healthy Homes Team!

The Healthy Homes Coalition is looking for a Community Organizer to support Parents for Healthy Homes as they advance equity and safety for our kids by promoting policies, investments, and systems that put an end to substandard housing for Grand Rapids families.

Spotlight: Lisa's Peer Education visits take off!

Lisa Matthews' reputation as a connected community member precedes her - she has been helping her neighbors get access to, and navigate, area resources for years.  Among the important community work Lisa dedicates her time to, she has made providing her neighbors with lead education visits as a community educator one of her priorities.  She has been instrumental in helping the peer education group she is a member of complete 44 peer-to-peer lead education visits in a matter of months...