Legal Requirements for Rental Property Owners

Over 68% of Ohio's housing stock was built prior to 1979 and, therefore, is at risk for lead-based paint hazards. To protect themselves and their tenants, rental property owners need to acquaint themselves with laws and regulations that apply to those who own, lease and conduct renovations in pre-1978 housing. The most important ones are:

  • EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule
  • Real Estate Disclosure Rule
  • Fair Housing
  • Ohio Lead Law

EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule

One of the best ways to protect both the owner and tenants is for owners of pre-1978 housing to take the one-day Repair, Renovation and Painting Rule training, get their firm certified by the EPA and use lead safe work practices. Note that owners of rental property are considered "firms" under the RRP Rule.

The Ohio Department of Health has an Environmental Licensing System that allows searches for training providers and courses.  First, select "Lead", then select the Cateogry, "Approved Training Courses".  Under Course Type, choose "Lead Safe Renovator" and provide a start and end date for the period you would like to take the course. To learn more, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) under the EPA's RRP Rule in Laws and Regulations for Housing Professionals.

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Real Estate Disclosure Rule

Owners must disclose the presence of lead-based paint hazards under the federal Real Estate Disclosure Rule and provide tenants with a copy of Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home, a brochure prepared by HUD, EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). See our Overview of the Disclosure Rule.
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Fair Housing

According to HUD, "Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:

  • A parent
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
  • The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission.

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18." This means that an owner may not refuse to rent to a family with children out of fear the children may become lead poisoned. Similarly, owners may not evict families because the family has children under 18. This applies to situations where an owner is informed by the health department that a child has lead poisoning. For more information, see Fair Housing: Your Right on the HUD website.
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Ohio Lead Law

The Ohio Lead Law gives health departments the authority to investigate cases of lead poisoning and, if lead hazards are found in a property, to issue lead hazard control orders. The owner is given a period of time to remove the hazards. If the owner does not comply, the owner may be ordered to vacate the building. The building will be placarded and no one will be allowed to inhabit the building until the hazards are removed and the order is lifted.

Owners who have been issued lead orders are required to use a state licensed lead contractor to make the necessary repairs. The property must also pass a lead clearance examination by a state licensed inspector, risk assessor or clearance technician before the property may be re-occupied.

The best way to avoid having lead orders issued on the property is to keep housing units lead-safe through the use of Essential Maintenance Practices (EMP). Following EMP will establish a record of lead-safe maintenance that can protect owners from liability for a tenants' lead-poisoning. This protection is called "rebuttable presumption." FAQs on the Ohio Lead Law can be found in the Housing Professional section under Laws and Regulations.
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