[Parentsgroup-list] delead apartments

candice belanoff cbelanof at hsph.harvard.edu
Mon Jun 26 14:26:54 EDT 2006

We definitely encountered some egregious housing discrimination when we 
first moved to Boston on account of having a child under 6 (having a dog 
only compounded the problem). Many, MANY landlords refused to show us their 
apartments when they heard we had a kid; and one, who seemed like a decent 
enough person, said she simply could not afford to delead, (also having 
something to do with the fact that it was a condo building and all the 
tenants would have to agree to it -- blah blah blah -- still illegal, but 
you kind of see where there's a barrier for individual home-owners.)  And I 
hate to say, but a broker (evil) even refused to show us anything, claiming 
she had nothing deleaded to show. If I'd had the resources and gumption at 
the time, I would have raised some hell about it, but I had neither, and 
just wanted a place to live. We were lucky and found a deleaded place in 
Mission Hill. Seems like some landlords are very motivated to rent to nice 
quiet families in neighborhoods which traditionally draw groups of students 
renting apartments. Might be an angle to work.


At 02:05 PM 6/26/2006 -0400, wenc at fas.harvard.edu wrote:
>Actually, MA law requires that all kids under 6 have to live in deleaded
>housing.  No landlord can get around this except illegally, so landlords who
>are renting apts in their own home ARE required to delead.  If they told you
>otherwise they are in error.  There is a lot of mythology out there among
>landlords about lead, so I wouldn't pay too much attention to what a landlord
>says.  Look at the mass.gov web site or the Mass Dept of Public Health for the
>real information.  Even homeowners are supposed to delead--Mass has some 
>of the
>most stringent lead laws in the country.
>You might have more luck with a broker, unfortunately.  Since it takes some
>money and effort to delead, I think many landlords prefer to use a more formal
>screening process with a broker.  I would recommend a guy named Paul at Metro
>Realty on Mass Ave in Cambridge--he helped me find a decently-priced deleaded
>apt very quickly.  I think that it's not uncommon for the landlord to pay the
>fee or to pay half the fee (usually a month's rent), though with the changing
>housing market this might not be the case as much anymore.
>Also, newer buildings (built post-1978) will not have lead paint, so if 
>you find
>a place there you do not have to worry about lead.
>I had a lead poisoning scare with my son that turned out to be an error, 
>but in
>the process I learned that it's not really something you want to mess 
>need to be in deleaded housing.  (I was staying in a non-deleaded house at the
>time)  But I also learned that it's QUITE easy for there to be errors when 
>kid gets their blood lead test at the doctor.  The finger-stick test can be
>totally wrong, as it was with me--apparently my son just stuck his finger in
>some leaded dust on his way to the doc or something (East Coast cities are
>powdered with lead, from leaded gasoline days and from 200 years of flaking
>lead paint--it's in the soil, all over the place), and so his lead level came
>back pretty high.  The arm stick test showed that his level was actually much
>lower and wasn't anything to worry much about.
>Quoting Kyla Ebels Duggan <ebels at fas.harvard.edu>:
> > Here are two possibilities for deleaded apartments:
> >
> > Our current apartment is in Union Square in Somerville on Putnam Street.
> > It's managed by Greater Boston Properties, and you can find the number on
> > the web.  There is a whole row of townhousey buildings, all deleaded.  The
> > management is not stellar, but not terrible, and the apartments are
> > spacious.
> >
> > Another possibility is our old landlord, Hugh Gelch.  He has some deleaded
> > places, and is working on upgrading all of his places (a rare landlord who
> > follows the law on this without having his arm twisted).  He was a great
> > landlord.  His number is (617) 964-4220.  He doesn't have a whole lot of
> > places in Somerville, and most of what he has is quite small.
> >
> > Also, we learned in looking for a place that landlords who are just
> > renting out an apartment in their own home are not required to delead like
> > others are.
> >
> > good luck!
> > Kyla
> >
> > On Mon, 26 Jun 2006, Anna Shusterman wrote:
> >
> > > Hi,
> > > It is a bit tricky around here. However there are some financial 
> incentives
> > > (at least in somerville) for landlords to delead -- it is not as 
> costly or
> > > time consuming as they would have you believe. Our landlord deleaded 
> for us
> > > (after our other landlord kicked us out -- win some, lose some). In 
> theory,
> > > according to the law, they cannot deny you housing based on the fact that
> > > you have a small child, and they *have* to bring the apartment into
> > > compliance with the lead laws. It depends how pushy you want to be to 
> make
> > > it clear to potential landlords that you know that law and you know that
> > > they are violating it.
> > > There are deleaded apartments and decent landlords around, though -- you
> > > just have to look hard for them. Some postings don't advertise that they
> > are
> > > deleaded, and if the apartment looks freshly renovated, you can move 
> in and
> > > then insist that the landlord do lead testing and bring the place into
> > > compliance. I think that even if you sign the "lead disclosure" form that
> > > they provide, if they rent to you with a small child they are not off the
> > > hook -- they still have to bring the place into compliance. I would 
> double
> > > check this, though.
> > > Good luck -- if I hear of any good deleaded apartments I will post them
> > > here.
> > > -Anna
> > >
> > >
> > > On 6/26/06, Jenny Kirsten Ataoguz <jksmith at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > dear All,
> > > > We have started apartment hunting and have learned that with 
> children it
> > > > is
> > > > a bit tricky because of the issue of deleading.  Does everyone live in
> > > > deleaded apartments?  Is it really difficult to find one?
> > > > Thanks,
> > > > Kirsten Ataoguz
> > > >
> > > >
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