It’s a popular topic on the local news recently: is the water you’re drinking safe? City water is usually clean, but if your rental property has old pipes, there may be lead or bacteria that is getting into the water. As a landlord or property manager, it’s important that you provide each tenant with clean drinking water and to do so, you need to keep aware of the status of the water in your rental units, especially if a tenant brings something to your attention.
What Should You Do?
Landlords are required to correct any known lead hazards on the property or apartment units that are being lived in, and these include lead exposure via soil, dust, or paint in the area.
Tip #1: Fix any broken or old pipes.
Old, leaky pipes are usually one of the main sources of lead exposure in water – especially copper pipes. So, be sure to replace any pipes that are old or leaking, and be careful that the tap water is not coming into contact with any pipes that are broken, especially if the home was built before 1980 and the plumbing has not been completely updated.
Tip #2: Fix any chipping or peeling paint.
If there are areas of peeling or chipping in the home and the paint is lead
- based, dust from the paint can get into the soil and tap water.
Tip #3: Give tenants the proper information.
Provide tenants with water test kit information if there is a concern for lead exposure in the water and provide a filtration system or bottled water for tenants to use as long as they need to, until the lead issue has been resolved.
In addition, take precautions by offering the most recent lead inspection report for the rental unit, showing that the Department of Health has cleared the unit and that tenants are safe to live there.
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Unfortunately, lead poisoning is often difficult to diagnose, as symptoms can mask themselves or appear to be other common illnesses. Children are most often at risk for lead poisoning, but it can be incredibly dangerous for adults as well. Here are some signs and symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle and joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Memory loss
- Decline in mental function
- Pain, numbness, or tingling of extremities
- Mood disorders
All tenants have the right to living in a safe and healthy home, so be sure that your rental units are livable before anyone moves in.