Can I legally allow tenants exterior access to a basement that has lead paintin it?

I am renting out my 1920’s home. I was attempting to get it lead inspected and certified last week as required. I found that the exterior and basement were problems. The 2 main floors are lead free due to extensive renovation. I had to paint the foundation, porch and exterior basement windows and door due to chipping paint. The rest of the exterior is enclosed in vinyl siding. The basement will require extensive work. I am going to lock the basement door and add an addendum to the lease stating that the door is locked and it is not inhabitable space. Can i give them a key to the basement for storage?

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can if you want to open yourself up to lawsuits in the future should they claim that their child was exposed and that brain damage resulted.  That is generally the problem with lead: it is ingested through paint, etc., by children and this causes developmental delays and cognitive impairment.  You are doing all that you can regarding the abatement, which is costly and cumbersome, but why expose yourself to any potential claims by giving them access?  If there is work that is being done to abate the lead and it becomes airborne or they step n lead dust and track it in to your house - well, you get my point. Err on the side of caution and health. Good luck.


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