Renting property that needs renovation - Concerned about lead, asbestos

I am considering buying a property built in 1974 that needs some renovation. i will be renting this out to college students. Since it requires some wall repairs due to holes as well as wall removal due to water damage and mold issues, I am concerned about the joint tape, joint compound and ceiling texture - not popcorn but the mop look). Do I just “assume” it has these issues and hire a liscensed abatament contractor to do the work? That way I am doing the right thing in terms of how I undertake the renovations. If I get the home tested and it tests positive for these issues, then I have to state that I know of these issues in my lease agreement. Might scare off potential renters even though I am correctly handling any renovations. I currently have a contract on this and it is an REO property and perhaps if I get it tested, the bank will lower the price since they now know of the defects. However, I would still have to acknowledge the existence of this in my lease agreement and the bank may say take it or leave it. Once a bank knows of these issues, are they required to disclose them to another buyer if I don’t purchase the property?


In the 1970's people were becoming aware of the risks and hazards of asbestos and lead. Action was being taken by manufactures to revise the various materials used to create products, while distributors, wholesalers and retailers were trying to clean up and dispose of products deemed hazardous or questionable.

With that said asbestos and lead were still used in some applications through 1978 in home building, but not necessarily everywhere. Asbestos could exist in roofing and siding materials, in sealants, in floor vynal floor tile or linoluim products, asbestos could exist in flooring adhesives, in texture either popcorn or mop finishes, in drywall mud and in certain patching compounds for wood or drywall. Asbestos products may be found in duct insulation, in fireproofing material stuffed around doors or windows or around fireplaces or stoves as heat insulators. Asbestos could exist in tile grout or caulking products.

Lead may exist in old leaded connections in waste and drain connections, in solder connections for copper or brass pipe fittings and may exist as a sealant in pipe dope used for galvanized water piping. Lead was also used in old steam boilers as well as asbestos. Lead based paint although sold through 1978 was being cut out and alternate painting products were introduced in the early 1970’s which did not contain lead.

Have samples taken by a reputable testing company, four or five samples should cost around $400 to $500 dollars. Encapsulation for asbestos or lead based paint has been exceptable in most states and grandfathered prior to the new environmental standards introduced in recent years by the EPA.


See if your local housing authority has a “Landlord Class”. Many of them cover these type of questions with information accurate for your area. From my limited experience with banks, they will probably not move on the price unless there is an eminent liability that would fall on them if they hold the property. I purchased a property from a bank at a great discount because there was a documented lead poisoning case pending on the property. The bank, fearful that they may be sued, was very motivated to get rid of the property. Without a special circumastance such as this, the bank would not really care that the property had a lead paint problem. Good luck and let us know what happens.