New disclosure law alarms some, comforts others--especially kids
FIRST THEY FORCED lead out of tin cans, then gasoline, crayons, even wine. Next it will be older homes and apartments--and the impact on the real estate sector could be dramatic.
Starting in 12 months, a 2-year-old federal law will require real estate agents and landlords to notify buyers and renters about lead-based paint lurking in homes or apartments. The law won't force removal of leaded paint. But by highlighting health hazards, the law inevitably will prompt some property owner to pursue cleanups. And that's sure to spawn a new industry of de-leading contractors and inspectors.
Health officials welcome the simple disclosure statements because they'll educate parents about health risks from leaded paint. But public- and private-sector officials alike worry about a multitude of spinoff effects.
"It's the biggest disaster that we've got looming on the horizon," says Emily Cedarleaf, executive director of the Multifamily Housing Council of Oregon, the state's largest apartment owners' group.
Cedarleaf and others fear the disclosure statements will spark a panic akin to the radon and asbestos scares. The disclosures also could lower property values or throw a kink into sale and lease negotiations.
Most alarming to Cedarleaf are the handouts on lead …