Federal Lead Paint Disclosure

TLDR: The Federal Lead Paint Disclosure is a requirement for the transfer of all residential properties built before 1978, which may have lead paint.

This is the only federally mandated disclosure and has to do with the possible presence of lead paint in properties built before 1978, at which point lead paint was banned for residential use. Lead poisoning, particularly in children, can have serious neurological and behavioral consequences, and lenders have strict requirements about lending on properties that exhibit chipped paint anywhere on the property. The government also requires that buyers and sellers sign the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure before the transfer of any property built before 1978. 

The EPA has put together some resources to help you learn more:

What’s required of you for this task?

Once you accept an offer from a buyer and you’re sent the contract, you’ll simply sign the disclosure form that we’ll include in the PDF and voila—this task is complete!

Warning: Assume the Worst

If your house was built before 1978, assume that your house has lead paint. The EPA’s website states, “The older your home, the more likely it contains lead-based paint. For example, 87% of homes built before 1940 have some lead-based paint, while 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint. Lead-based paint may be present in private single-family homes or apartments, government-assisted, or public housing, and in urban, suburban, or rural settings.”

The EPA's Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Example: Chipping Lead Paint 

This is certainly not the catch-all for the existence of lead paint, but one obvious sign of lead paint is chipping in a rectangular fashion, as shown below.


If there is chipped paint anywhere on your property, you’ll eliminate any buyers who are obtaining FHA, USDA, and VA loans, as those require that the property meet certain criteria related to the condition of the home. Testing for lead paint and mitigating in advance will broaden the pool of buyers who can make an offer. 

How do I test for lead paint?

While there are technically commercially available products that you can buy off the shelf, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study in 2007 that determined home lead test kits to be largely unreliable, with more than half of all tests showing a false negative (indicating that there was no lead when there was lead) and a few showing a false positive. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following action to test for lead paint: 

“Hire a certified professional to check for lead-based paint. A certified lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor can conduct an inspection to determine whether your home or a portion of your home has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs. A certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you whether your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. The risk assessor can also tell you what actions to take to address any hazards. For help finding a certified risk assessor or inspector, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).”