Grind down our lead painted windows?
September 7, 2011 5:03 PM Subscribe
Conflicting problems with both non-closing windows and likely lead paint in a Los Angeles rental. Maintenance plan to grind them all down later this week and I'm pregnant and worried about the dust. I would deeply appreciate some advice on how this might play out and how to handle it (yes, not legal advice) especially advice from those who know about California and LA rental issues.
posted by crabintheocean to home & garden (4 answers total)
We rent in LA and complained (yet again) to our landlord and apartment manager about the insecurity of our huge bank of ground-level street-facing windows after the other first floor apartment was robbed through a window! They're steel frame windows with a crank to close and a lever to lock, neither of which really work, in a building that's probably from 1960. These are windows that can be quickly and silently opened from the outside by grabbing and rocking them, and we have complained repeatedly for the several years we've been here, but the best fix we've ever gotten has been some twisted wire. Obviously after the break-in this can't go on.
Today the landlord sent a maintenance guy to look at the windows. Later we got a call from the apartment manager saying that they would come in to fix them on Friday and they would fix them by grinding them down.
Oh dear. These windows are from the 1950's or 1960's and they have layer over layer of oil based paint on them. I am certain the lower layers are full of lead. I am seven months pregnant and would like a healthy baby without cognitive impairment if possible. Maintenance in this block is never done cleanly or so far as we can tell with adherence to regulations, and we are never able to ask anyone doing the work what chemicals they are using or what they plan on doing (we rarely see the same person twice and none of them are able to really communicate with us because we don't speak Spanish and they don't speak English).
We called the apartment manager back to ask her (nicely) about lead and express our concerns. She was as rude as she always is, and told us that it's impossible that there's lead paint because it has been illegal to use since the 1970's, then she agreed to ask the owner (who owns several buildings and is generally medium-professional) and get back to us.
What should we do and what is likely to happen to us? Can we trust what they tell us? Should we get our own test kit, am I right to be concerned that this is a hazard? If we insist they fix the windows AND follow safe lead procedures (which I'm not familiar with but a quick Google suggests are complicated) I'm worried it will be a huge fight and we'll have to find somewhere else to live - we're not under lease and we're moving long distance next year so we can't sign a year lease anywhere else. We are also very settled here, can't afford to move twice in a year, and it's generally a great apartment.