Lead testing next steps
July 31, 2009 12:59 PM Subscribe
My wife and I recently had some lead testing done in our apartment which turned up some very high levels. Now we are trying to figure out what to do next. Issues involving lead testing, abatement, leases and tenancy inside.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld to home & garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My family (myself, my wife and our 18 month old daughter) moved into our current apartment in New Haven, Connecticut, in the beginning of June. When we looked at the place we were happy with condition it was in, as the paint seemed new and in good condition. On moving in we noticed that there was some old, chipping paint in the window beds. Last week we had some unofficial testing done by a local lead abatement company. We had done the same thing in our previous apartment, and gotten back borderline levels. We got the results for our new apartment back yesterday and the levels are very high, as in 10-50 times the acceptable limit. The soil in the backyard tests at 4x the limit.
My understanding of CT state law is that if we have an official inspection done and their findings match ours, the landlords are responsible for the lead abatement. My wife spoke to an inspector from the New Haven DPH, who confirmed this, but could not give us much guidance as to how long, difficult or expensive the abatement process might be. We brought this all up with our landlords and they expressed a desire to not go through official channels and maybe have some cleanup done off the record. Our landlords are an older couple who are very sweet and well intentioned, but we don't really trust their ability to deal with the cleanup on their own.
The way I see it, our options are either to get an official inspection and start the process of getting the lead cleaned up, or to move out and find somewhere else to live. Since we would need to vacate at least ourselves and maybe our stuff during the abatement process, and going the official route wouldn't put us on good terms with the landlords, we're currently inclined to go the "move out" route.
This would involve breaking our lease which lasts for another 10 months. Our landlords are not particularly computer savvy, so they have asked if we would do the work of listing and showing the place, which is fine. Our main concern is that if we can't find someone to move in by the time we move out that they will try to hold us responsible for the rent. We would like to get something in writing from them officially breaking the lease.
So the question is, is this a situation where we need a lawyer? If we destroy both copies of the lease, is that good enough? Are there other factors or options that we haven't thought of?
Just as a note, today was our daughter's 18 month checkup and we had her blood tested. We should know the results early next week, but since we've been here such a short time I expect that every thing is ok. Also, when we look at new apartments, we plan on testing before we sign a lease.