States laws often require landlords to disclose certain types of information about an apartment before a tenant moves in. Your state has its own requirements that are different from other states. Therefore, you’ll need to check which of the following disclosure requirements apply:
Lead Disclosure Requirements
Federal and state laws on lead and lead-based paint are numerous and regulate apartments built prior to 1978. These apartments are at risk of having some levels of lead, which is harmful to the health of people, especially children. A landlord must disclose any known lead in the apartment, including copies of tests and related reports. Any landlord who fails to disclose the past or present lead in the apartment, is subject to a liability lawsuit. For this reason, landlords take lead disclosure requirements seriously and share any information they know as well as a pamphlet on lead and lead based paints before a tenant moves in. The pamphlet has to be one that the federal government approves.
Some apartments are exempt from lead disclosure requirements, as required by Federal law. These include:
- Apartments for the elderly
- Apartments for the disabled
- Studio apartments
- Efficient apartments
- Vacation rentals
- Leases for less than 100 days without renewals
The landlord is not required to follow lead disclosure requirements if a certified lead inspector determines the apartment to be free of lead.
Flood Disclosure Requirements
A landlord must disclose any past flooding in the apartment before a tenant moves in. Some landlords find this duty to be burdensome. They don’t know the entire history of their apartment, and fear that leaving out information exposes them to liability unfairly. However, at the bare minimum, landlords must disclose actual knowledge of past flooding in the apartment.
Mold Disclosure Requirements
Some states have passed laws requiring mold disclosure, as a result of the mold remediation guidelines issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The landlord has to inform the tenant of the history of mold in the apartment, and steps taken to remove the mold. The landlord may have to show that mold was successfully removed before the tenant moves in. If you live in a state with mold disclosure requirements, the landlord may be liable for not identifying and disclosing a mold hazard.
Indoor Air Tests
If you live in New York, or other states with a similar law, your landlord is required to test the quality of air in the apartment and take an environmental sampling. This is referred to as the Landlord Disclosure of Indoor Air Contamination Test Results. A landlord must share the results before the tenant moves in, including samples taken from the groundwater and soil. The idea behind the required test is that harmful vapors might seep in from the soil under the foundation of the apartment building and make their way into your apartment, affecting air quality. Ask your landlord about this if they don’t discuss it with you prior to signing the lease.
All of these disclosure requirements seek to help renters decide about potential health risks before a tenant moves in. If you’re concerned about any of these, be sure to ask your landlord directly, and try to obtain as much information as possible up front.