[Parentsgroup-list] delead apartments

Heather Gray hgray at wjh.harvard.edu
Mon Jun 26 15:40:04 EDT 2006


We're dealing with this problem right now, and I'd just recommend people 
speak with their pediatricians if they think they might have to settle 
for a non-deleaded apartment.  I had a long conversation with Carol 
Browne (our NP at UHS) and she gave me lots of information and sent a 
big packet of pamphlets from the state. I'm still not sure if we're 
willing to settle, but at least now we know what's important to look for.

--Heather


W. Evan Johnson wrote:

> 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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