Lead Paint in Older Houses Must Be Disclosed in Residential Real Estate Sales
Description Court ordered a trial to be held to determine damages incurred by the buyer of a house built before 1978. The sale of such houses must include information about the dangers posed by lead-based paint and must include a disclosure form about the presence of such paint. Sellers failed to provide such information, so may face treble damages.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Lead Paint; Regulatory Requirements
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Coldwell Banker Real Estate represented the Whittakers in the sale of their house. A test for lead paint indicated that it was common throughout the house, which was sold to the Smiths. Lead paint was mentioned to the Smiths, but they were not provided the lead paint report nor given a lead paint disclosure form required by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, which applies to all sales of residential houses built before 1978. The Smiths then sued the seller and the broker for violating the Act by not disclosing the lead-paint information. Defendants moved for dismissal.
Decision Motion denied. A trial will be held as to liability and damages. The Act requires the seller to provide the buyer with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet and to disclose the presence of any known lead-based paint. Mentioning lead paint does not satisfy the requirements of the Act. There is no question that the seller violated the requirements of the Act by failing to provide the information required. When the Act is knowingly violated, the seller is liable for treble damages. The requirements of the Act cannot be defeated by oral statements or a sale contract that attempts to defeat the requirements of the Act.
Citation Smith v. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, Inc., 122 F.Supp.2d 267 (D. Conn., 2000)

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