Lease is for one year. Pregnancy would occur while living in unit. I would like to stay on in the unit after the baby is born too. Would landlord kick me out because they don't want to delead the unit? Do they legally have to delead it for their tenant?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Yes. They must de-lead or mitigate the lead to comply with the lead paint statute. To not do so would be a violation of that law and the MA anti-discrimination statute. It gets a bit tricky if your lease expires and they decide not to renew since they could try to argue it is for a non-discriminatory reason rather than the lead paint but that could still be discriminatory depending on the particular circumstances.
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Employment / Labor Attorney
They cannot kick you out. They probably have to de-lead, though there can be some exceptions to actual removal: depending on the age of the infant, the location of the lead, and the condition of the apartment they may be permitted to encapsulate, etc.
As you might expect, if you make this demand then your landlord will hate you. You're within your legal rights to require it, but you will force them to incur anywhere from $5,000-$50,000 of costs to de-lead the apartment. Moreover, you'll obviously have to move out of the apartment while it is being de-leaded. And, of course, there is no guarantee that you'll be allowed to continue living there indefinitely.
As an entirely practical matter, this is one of those legal disputes that often ends up making both parties miserable. You can certainly demand that the lead be addressed, but you may have a better resolution if you talk to the landlord. They may be willing to pay to move you elsewhere--and possibly even help you with the first month's rent--in an effort to have you in a lead-free apartment without paying out of pocket for the removal.
Your best bet is to talk to an attorney and see if they suggest a negotiated resolution.
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Real Estate Attorney
You have significant rights under the law.
They absolutely cannot kick you out, and if you are displaced as a result of the lead remediation process, the landlord must pay for you to live elsewhere.
You probably want to have an attorney advising you as you wade through this process, but there are great materials available on the lead law and resources for both the tenant and the landlord.
Your first step would probably be to have the home inspected for lead, but that will set off a chain of events that you should be ready for.
Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on generalized Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. If you would like an attorney with Vaughn-Martel Law to review your specific situation and provide you with legal options or information specific to you, you may schedule a telephone or office by calling 617-357-4898 or visiting us at www.vaughnmartel.com. Our office charges $100.00 for a consultation, and applies your consultation fee to your first bill if the Firm is hired to perform further work.