[Parentsgroup-list] delead apartments

W. Evan Johnson wjohnson at hsph.harvard.edu
Mon Jun 26 15:27:30 EDT 2006


Just a quick comment (putting the debate between landlords and renters aside):

Anyone (with children) who has tried finding a deleaded apartment clearly 
understands the discrimination issue that several others have alluded to. 
We just recently experienced this 'joy' yet again while apartment shopping: 
several landlords and real estate agents refused to show us a house because 
we have young children. Also, I noticed that the cheaper apts are often not 
deleaded (probably because the deleaded apts are more likely to be newly 
remodeled or because landlords are trying to get their deleading money back).

I guess my point here is that we really are a disadvantaged group when it 
comes to housing. I was wondering if this was brought up clearly our 
group's recent meetings with Harvard administration. You'd think that if 
Harvard really valued diversity and claims to give incentives to 
disadvantaged/minority groups, Harvard would be a leader in providing 
reasonably priced or subsidized housing. Have we already mentioned this?

I'm guessing that we've already done this, but if not, I think we should 
definitely add this to our cause!

Evan

At 03:21 PM 6/26/2006 -0400, jbarnes at fas.harvard.edu wrote:
>Marion:
>
>You give the state legislature far too much credit.  The fact that the law is
>terrible for small landlords is not in dispute here (though I'm sure we could
>make it a dispute!).  As hard as it is to believe that any state would make
>such a law, the language is fairly clear:
>
>"What does the lead law require?
>The Lead Law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes
>built before 1978 where any children under six live. Lead paint hazards 
>include
>loose lead paint and lead paint on windows and other surfaces accessible to
>children. Owners are responsible with complying with the law. This includes
>owners of rental property as well as owners living in their own single family
>home. Financial help is available through tax credits, grants and loans."
>
>http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eohhs2terminal&&L=6&L0=Home&L1=Government&L2=Laws%2c+Regulations+and+Policies&L3=Department+of+Public+Health+Regulations+%26+Policies&L4=Regulations+and+Other+Publications+-+I+to+L&L5=Lead+-+The+Massachusetts+Lead+Law+and+Legal+Documents&sid=Eeohhs2&b=terminalcontent&f=dph_environmental_lead_g_lead_law_require&csid=Eeohhs2
>
>If anyone can find language that provides for any exceptions I'd be glad to be
>proven wrong...but I haven't found any yet.
>
>Jesse
>
>
>
>Quoting Marion Tenney Gross <mgross at fas.harvard.edu>:
>
> > I just saw someone post that landlords renting an apartment in their own
> > home (half of a two family) are required to delead. Unless there has been
> > a recent law change that is not accurate. Given that many landlords would
> > lose their home (both their actual home and the rental apartment, in this
> > situation) if forced to pay the tens of thousands of dollars to delead,
> > this makes sense. As the owner of a two-family I just want to point out
> > that many landlords are living rent check to rent check to pay their
> > mortgage and blaming them because an apartment is old and may have lead is
> > not fair. If you want to ask the state to pay for massive deleading in an
> > area, fine, but small landlords simply can't afford it. Of course, the
> > vast majority of "lead" apartments will never contaminate your child, but
> > legally the landlord is liable (in some cases) if their tenant is
> > concerned. In our case,
> > though we have two children in an old house, if we rented in the other
> > apartment to someone with
> > a child and they complained, we would be out on the street (if what was
> > suggested is accurate). It's a public
> > health/legal problem  - let's take it easy on the landlords!
> >
> > On Mon, 26 Jun 2006, candice belanoff wrote:
> >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > --candice
> > >
> > >
> > > 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
> > > >with--you
> > > >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
> > > >your
> > > >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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