What can I do to keep my family safe from lead paint?
- Keep your children away from peeling paint, chipping paint or paint dust.
- Get your children tested for lead. Ask your child’s doctor to test for lead. Any elevated lead level is cause for concern and action.
- Do a home lead test. Many hardware stores sell home lead test kits for around $10. Make sure the test is EPA-approved.
- Ask your landlord to certify that the property is lead-safe or lead-free.
What does my landlord have to do?
Under Philadelphia Code 6-800 Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification, every landlord in Philadelphia must:
- Hire a qualified contractor to complete a lead test.
- Get a lead-safe or lead-free certificate for the rental property.
- Give a copy to you and the Department of Public Health
I did not receive a lead-safe or lead-free certificate. What can I do?
- Request a Lead Certificate. You may send a letter requesting that your landlord give you a lead-safe or lead-free certificate.
- Withhold rent. You may withhold rent until your landlord gives you a lead-safe or lead-free certificate.
- Send rent withholding letter to landlord.
- Escrow your rent. Open a bank account to deposit your rent or keep the rent in a money order.
- Call the Department of Public Health at 215-685-2788 and ask if there is a Lead-Safe or Lead-Free Certificate on file.
What rights do I have if my child has been lead-poisoned?
Under Philadelphia Code 6-403 Lead Paint and Other Lead Hazards, if a child has a lead level of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter or higher, the Health Department is required to:
- Test the property where the child is living.
- Direct the Department of Licenses & Inspections to take away the owner’s rental license.
- Require the owner to remediate the lead paint.
For rental properties, the owner, landlord or agent for the owner may not:
- Retaliate against the tenant.
- Evict or attempt to evict.
- Change the terms of the lease.
- Collect rent or attempt to collect rent.
- Rent the property to anyone else until the lead paint has been remediated.
If a landlord takes any of actions listed above, the tenant may:
- Sue for actual damages, not less than three times the monthly rent plus attorney fees and costs.
I heard there could be lead in the water. What can I do?
Call the Philadelphia Water Department 215-685-6300 to schedule a free lead test appointment.