Yesterday, I wrote about lead water supply lines. Although they are not considered an independent cause of lead poisoning, they have a certain “ick” factor for house and condo buyers. How much is hard to determine.
If there is a lead supply line coming into a house for sale, money will fix the problem, if it bothers a buyer or owner. You can replace the line or install a good quality filter. However, it is not as simple in a condo complex when the water line (or any other whole-building issue) is a problem for you, but the Trustees do not think it goes on the short list.
Do you live in a condo? Have you been told to go pound sand by your Trustees about something you think is a problem and they just don't care?
The question of getting a condo association to change a lead water supply line reminded me of an entry I wrote in 2008. I am risking the ire of my commenters who don't believe there is anything wrong with having radon or lead in a house or condo. But, so be it. The question posed then was about whether a lead paint problem in the common areas can be a problem for a condo owner who rents to someone with a child under six.
Here's the entry from 2008:
A reader asked me a question about lead paint and condos. What happens if a unit is lead-safe, but the common area is not? How does the liability work? Since IANAL, I asked a legal colleague. She told me this:
Let's say a child under the age of six living in a condo more than 20 hours a week. If a condo unit owner were to complete a lead inspection, remove all the lead from within their unit, and obtain a Certificate of Compliance, he or she would have done everything in their power to remove the lead paint health risk from affecting their tenant.
Without lead in the condo unit, the tenant would be unable to hold the condo owner liable for any lead paint poisoning that the child later suffered.
The responsibility, then, would fall upon the Trustees of the Condominium Trust or the Managers of the Condominium Association. The Trustees/Managers have a legal responsibility to care for the Common Areas and grounds of the Condominium on behalf of all the unit owners. In that position, their job is to insure the safety and health of all who live at the Condominium, including owners and their legal tenants. If it could be shown that the child had elevated lead levels causing illness, and the child's condo unit was free of all lead-based products but there was lead in the Common Areas, then the liability for the child's injury would fall to the Condominium Trust/Association and that entity could be sued for the consequential damages sustained by the child resident.
So, here is yet another thing to be concerned about when you buy a condo in an old building in Massachusetts.
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