The Dream of Homeownership May become a Nightmare of Lead Hazards

As reported in the New York Times on December 26, 2016 in an article written by Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein, “Seller-Financed Deals are Putting Poor People in Lead-Tainted Homes”. The articles went on to report that “Throughout the country, tens of thousands of rundown homes have been scooped up by investment companies that have offered high-interest financing or rent-to-own deals largely to poor people. Many of these homes were foreclosed on during the housing crisis.

“These investors, however, put no money toward renovation, or for fixing lead paint problems. The low income buyers and renters are forced to make all repairs. When there are serious problems with the homes, victims can be required to sign confidentiality agreements to keep them quiet in a settlement after they have been compensated.

“As a result, seller-financed housing contracts have aggravated a persistent problem of lead poisoning among young children in this country.

“It is not known how many homes nationwide are in seller-financed contracts, and not every state requires that such contracts be recorded. Still, health officials say they are increasingly seeing a connection between homes that are in seller-financed contracts and lead-poisoning cases.”

This report underscores the problem faced by low income families when entering into some seller-financed housing contracts. If you are in such a situation or know of friends or neighbors who occupy seller-financed homes, the home should be inspected for lead hazards and any children in those homes should be tested for lead poisoning.