Asbestos and Lead Information for Real Estate Professionals

Asbestos and Lead Information for Real Estate Professionals

Asbestos and lead pose health risks, and they may be found in buildings and other structures. Because of this, the Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have specific requirements for the maintenance, renovation and demolition of buildings and other structures.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are only dangerous when they are disturbed or handled incorrectly. If ACMs are not handled properly, asbestos particles can be breathed in. Even a small amount of ACM can cause health effects.  

Lead-based paint becomes a hazard when it is disturbed. This can be from chipping and peeling paint, when painted surfaces rub together, or when the paint is not properly sanded, scraped or burned. If lead-based paint is not handled properly, lead dust can be breathed in or swallowed by workers and by people, especially children, who use the building or other structure.

Learn more about the hazards and health effects of lead and asbestos

What do buyers and sellers need to know about the Vermont Lead Law and Essential Maintenance Practices (EMPs)?

For rental properties and child care facilities built before 1978, if the property is not in compliance with the Vermont Lead Law at the time of sale:

  • The buyer must bring the property in full EMP compliance within 60 days of closing, unless an extension of time is granted by the Commissioner of Health.
  • A request for an extension may be filed in writing to: Commissioner of Health, P.O. Box 70, Burlington, VT, 05402-0070, and must be submitted at least 10 business days before the EMP certification due date. The Commissioner may grant the request only for good cause.
  • Failure to bring the property into EMP compliance carries a mandatory civil penalty.
What information do sellers need to provide about asbestos and lead?

ASBESTOS

There is no required information about asbestos for sellers to provide to buyers.

LEAD

The Vermont Lead Law (18 V.S.A. §1767) requires sellers to provide lead disclosure information and educational materials approved by the Health Department during real estate transactions for all pre-1978 housing, whether owner-occupied or rental.

See the summary of seller's obligations in all types of real estate transactions

Seller Responsibilities: Pre-1978 Residential Rental Properties

These educational materials must be given to the buyer when selling a residential rental property:

The following must be verified:

  • Essential Maintenance Practices (EMPs) have been completed.
  • A current EMP Compliance Statement has been filed with the Health Department.

The following must be disclosed:

  • Any information or documentation regarding the presence of lead paint, such as any testing that has been performed.
  • If the property is currently subject to an assurance of discontinuance, administrative order or court order.

The Vermont Lead Law Disclosure and EMP Verification Form is used before the execution of a purchase and sale agreement. Depending upon the circumstances of the sale, it may also be needed at the time of sale.

A separate federally required lead law disclosure form may be required.

Seller Responsibilities: Pre-1978 Owner-Occupied Single Family Homes (non-rental)

These educational materials must be given to the buyer when selling an owner-occupied single-family home (non-rental):

Disclose any information or documentation regarding the presence of lead paint, such as any testing that has been performed.

The Vermont Lead Law Disclosure (Single Family Home) Form will rarely be needed. It is only for use when a single-family home is subject to an assurance of discontinuance, administrative order or court order and the terms of which are not completed.

Seller Responsibilities: Certified Lead-Free Pre-1978 Residential Structure

The Vermont Lead Law Disclosure (Lead-free Property) Form will be used infrequently. It is for use when residential housing has been certified lead-free by a Vermont-licensed Lead Inspector or Risk Assessor, who has conducted an inspection using an XRF machine, the results have been sent to the Health Department, and the Department has approved an exemption from EMPs.

Do properties need to be inspected for asbestos or lead?

ASBESTOS

Vermont law requires inspections for asbestos before a renovation or demolition and when the materials in question are going to be disturbed, including heating system upgrades.

LEAD

Federal law requires that buyers are provided with a 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. The buyers may waive this inspection opportunity.

The State of Vermont does not require properties to be inspected for lead if the owners assume there is lead paint or coatings and treat the property accordingly.

Does asbestos or lead need to be removed from a home or building?

ASBESTOS

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are only dangerous when they are disturbed or handled incorrectly. Asbestos is not required by law to be removed from a home or building unless a demolition or renovation is to occur or if the ACMs are damaged.

LEAD

Lead is not required by law to be removed from a home or building unless due to a court order or similar legal action.

Where can I find contractors that handle asbestos or lead?
How can I report an asbestos-related or lead-related complaint?
Where can I learn more about lead hazards and preventing lead poisoning?
How can I test for asbestos or lead hazards?

ASBESTOS

If you want to know whether there are asbestos-containing materials in a home, building, structure or material, hire a Vermont-licensed asbestos inspector to conduct an inspection.

LEAD

Lead-Based Paint

If you want to know whether lead-based paint is on a home, building or other structure, hire a Vermont-certified lead inspector or risk assessor to conduct a lead inspection or risk assessment. A lead inspection determines the presence or absence of lead-based paint on painted or coated surfaces. A risk assessment identifies lead hazards from deteriorated paint, dust and bare soil, and ways to control the lead hazards.

Drinking Water

Test kits for lead in drinking water can be purchased from the Health Department Laboratory. Find out more about testing for lead in drinking water

What are safe work practices for asbestos and lead?

ASBESTOS

Under Vermont law, only licensed contractors are allowed to perform asbestos abatement activities and must follow the regulations regarding the handling and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

Unsafe handling of asbestos-containing materials often leads to the need for asbestos cleanup by a Vermont-licensed asbestos contractor.

LEAD

Under Vermont law, contractors are required to use lead-safe work practices.

Unsafe work practices that disturb lead-based paint will create lead hazards (see Section 2.2.28). Under Vermont law, if lead hazards are created in any building or structure, you will be responsible for the cleanup that will require you to hire a Vermont-licensed lead abatement contractor.

Prohibited practices may be allowed if specifically authorized in writing by the Health Department. Depending on the property and the work being performed, EMP (Essential Maintenance Practices) or RRP (Repair, Renovation, or Paint) certification may be required.

More information

Vermont Regulations for Asbestos Control
Vermont Regulations for Lead Control

Questions?

Asbestos & Lead Regulatory Program
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
Phone: 802-863-7220 or
800-439-8550 (toll-free within VT)
Fax: 802-863-7483

AHS.VDHALRPGeneral@vermont.gov