Tenants living in houses or apartments built before 1978 must be given information before they sign a lease informing them about all known lead hazards in a home or apartment. Tenants must also be given educational materials about lead. This information is required by federal law.
Tenants have the right to live in a safe and clean home.
Right of inspection
Tenants living in federally owned or subsidized housing have a right to live in an environment free of lead hazards. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Lead-Safe Housing Rule requires the inspection and removal of all lead hazards in housing units regulated under this rule.
Illinois state law: Under Illinois Rules, any home with a child under 6 years old in residence must be inspected for lead if the child has:
- a blood lead level at or above 20 µg/dL, or
- three blood lead levels in a row of 15–19 µg/dL, or
- a single confirmed blood lead level at or above 10 µg/dL and the child’s physician requests an investigation.
An inspection is also required when a child less than three years of age has a single confirmed blood lead level at or above 10 µg/dL.
If a lead hazard exists, IDPH or the local health department serves a mitigation notice on the property owner. This notice tells the owner that he or she is required to fix the lead hazard, and how long he or she has to complete it. The property owner is required to notify all tenants of the hazard by posting a notice of lead hazards in common areas of the building.
Chicago’s local ordinance authorizes the City of Chicago to inspect homes and take samples for lead testing to ensure the safety of children living in the building. The City may apply for a warrant if an owner is unwilling to have the property tested for lead.
Also, Chicago defines lead poisoning as a blood lead level of 5 µg/dL or higher. Therefore, in Chicago a test result of 5 µg/dL or higher could trigger a home lead inspection by the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Under the recent changes to the amendment that has gone into effect as of January 1, 2017, a landlord receiving a mitigation notice is required to make specific disclosure requirements before the renewing of an existing lease or if a new lease is created.
First, if a renewal occurs, the landlord must provide written notice that a lead hazard has previously been identified in the residential property unit unless the landlords have obtained a certificate of compliance. Otherwise, both the notice and the inspection report must be provided to existing tenants prior to renewal.
Otherwise, for new residential leases, landlords who have previously received the mitigation notice must mitigate the lead hazard and as well as obtain the certificate of compliance.
Additionally, landlords who have received a mitigation notice must place a notice in common areas of the building that must include the following:
- that a lead hazard was found
- other units may have lead hazards
- if two or more notices have been issued in the past five years
- where to obtain additional information
- and that the Department of Public Health recommends that children 6 years old or younger receive blood lead testing
Tenants who do not feel that their landlord or property manager is meeting the requirements of federal law, or any of the city or state laws discussed in this section should contact their local or state public health department or local housing authority.
In Chicago, residential housing complaints should be reported by dialing 311. Both Chicago landlords and residential tenants are encouraged to seek professional and legal advice should they find that they are party to a hazard.