Phone: (405)255-5518   
Common Property Hazards

Lead-Based Paint

The use of significant quantities of lead in paint was banned in the United States in 1978, but more than 30 million older U.S. homes contain lead-based paint. The ingestion of lead can cause severe brain damage, particularly in children. Lead-based paint isn’t hazardous when it is intact, but is hazardous when the paint is decaying, flaking, or peeling off the walls. Lead dust generated from friction on windows, doors, and stairs also creates a hazard.

Federal Law

  • Requires sellers and their agents to disclose known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards within a home to the actual buyers, but not to everyone that views the property. A written disclosure form is not required, but is recommended.
  • Requires sellers to give buyers copies of any reports of lead-paint testing or inspections. Does not require that any property be tested for the presence of lead paint. 
  • Requires sellers of homes completed before 1978 (with a few exceptions such as housing built for the elderly) to give buyers a government-approved pamphlet, “Protect Your Family From Lead in Home.”
  • Grants buyers a 10-day period in which to conduct a lead-based paint inspection at their own expense, although no testing or removal of lead-based paint is required by the law. The estimates for lead-based paint testing costs provided by HUD are approximately $400 for a 2,000 square-foot single-family home.

Megan’s Law

Megan Kanka was a seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a convicted sex offender living in her neighborhood. As a result of her death, the federal government and the 50 state governments have enacted regulations that require convicted sex offenders to register an address with state law enforcement and mandates this information be disseminated to protect the public.
  • Notification procedures vary from state to state.
  • With the exception of fewer than 20 states, the real estate professional’s role in disclosing information under Megan’s Law is unclear.
  • Unless your state has written guidelines, ask buyers to sign a written disclaimer stating that they have been notified about the provisions of Megan’s Law and told where they can obtain information on convicted sex offenders in a specific area.

Asbestos

Asbestos was used as insulation and soundproofing material and in tile flooring in buildings throughout the 1970s. Its manufacture was declared illegal in 1978, but products in inventories at that time continued to be installed in homes until the early 1980s.
  • Asbestos presents a health risk only when asbestos fibers or dust are released into the air, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The presence of asbestos can’t be ascertained by a visual inspection, but possible sources of asbestos in a home may be identified visually.
  • Unless it is deteriorating, asbestos presents less danger if it’s left undisturbed.
  • Sellers are required to disclose the known presence of asbestos, but aren’t required to test.
  • Common types of asbestos you are likely to encounter are a granular, cement-like plaster on walls and ceilings, a fluffy material sprayed onto ceilings or walls as a fire retardant, and felt, fibrous paper, or cement-like coatings on pipes or boilers for insulation.

Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring gas that can enter any home through tiny cracks in the foundation. Ironically, well-insulated homes are more likely to have radon problems. Radon is a lung carcinogen and may contribute to lung cancer deaths, especially among cigarette smokers.
  • Radon is naturally occurring and has been found in all states.
  • Testing is the only way to determine whether a home has elevated levels of radon.
  • Radon testing is not required but is recommended by the.
  • The EPA recommends that repairs be made to reduce radon if levels exceed four picocuries per liter of air.

Other Environmental Hazards to Consider

  • Leaking underground storage tanks. Can pollute ground and water. Of particular concern are older sites that might have once been used for industrial purposes. The presence of a air-vent pipe may indicate an underground tank. Most states require that underground tanks be monitored for leaks or removed. Tanks for heating oil that will be used on the site are exempt from federal law, but not necessarily from state laws.
  • Buried waste disposal. Can pollute ground and water. Look for unexplained depressions or mounds on the property; discolored soil, or stressed vegetation may also indicate the presence of contaminants. Check chain of ownership to determine if earlier uses for the site were hazardous. If evidence of possible pollution exist, recommend that the prospective buyer consider a Phase I environmental audit performed by a specialist.
  • CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). Can damage the ozone layer if released into the atmosphere. These chemicals are found in air conditioning systems, older refrigerators, and insulation. The Clean Air Act banned the production of CFC in the U.S. in 1996 and requires a phase out of use by 2030, but special recycling and clean-up is required if leaks occur in closed systems or if old equipment is discarded. If equipment was made before 1996, it may well contain CFCs.
  • Formaldehyde gas. Can cause irritations of the eyes, nose, and throat and may contribute to cancer. Found in plywood, carpeting, insulation, solvents, and draperies, the gas usually dissipates over time, so it is of most concern in new homes.

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Metro First Realty of Edmond
3636 E. I-35 Frontage Rd. • Edmond, OK 73013
Phone: (405)255-5518 •



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