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Protecting Your Family During Deleading

Produced by Jeffrey Feuer and Benjamin Hiller
Reviewed May 2017

Notice of Deleading

The landlord must give you a written notice at least 10 days before any deleading work begins. Deleading notification must be sent to all occupants of the building, CLPPP, the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, and your local Board of Health.38 Because most deleading work creates dangerous conditions for both workers and occupants, you (and any pets that you have) likely will have to move out of your home temporarily while deleading work is being done inside.39

Before deleading work begins, you should protect any belongings that you'll leave behind, including food, appliances, furniture, personal items, kitchen utensils, silverware, bedding, toys, and clothes, by removing them from the work area and double-sealing them in large plastic bags. Take anything that you need to have with you in your temporary housing before the deleading work begins. You will not be allowed back into your home or in any common areas until the deleading work is done, your apartment is properly cleaned up, and a licensed lead inspector determines that your home is safe to reoccupy.40

Temporary Housing

You and your landlord should try to agree on a plan for temporary housing while the deleading work is being done. If you choose to move in with family or friends, you do not have to pay any rent to your landlord while you are out of your home.41

If you do not wish to live with family or friends, the landlord has the right, after giving you reasonable notice of his plans, to move you to temporary substitute housing. This temporary housing must be suitable and not cause you "undue economic or personal hardship."42

If moving to the landlord's choice of a substitute apartment would cause real problems for your family (such as the apartment's being too small, lacking adequate cooking facilities, being located too far away from your job or not as near to public transportation as your original home was), you do not have to accept moving there. You can ask the landlord to provide you with another temporary dwelling unit that does not cause such hardships.43

If you live in temporary housing provided by the landlord, you have only to continue to pay your normal rent to the landlord (or the new landlord, depending upon what arrangements you make). Your landlord must pay any additional cost for the temporary housing, and the landlord must pay for the cost of the temporary housing, even if it is more than your normal rent. The landlord must also reimburse you for any other expenses and costs that you have as a result of being required to move to this temporary substitute housing, as well as pay your reasonable moving costs, both to the temporary housing and back to your own home after it has been deleaded and passes re‑inspection.

If the landlord does not provide you with suitable temporary housing, you can find your own temporary place to stay. In this situation, you do not have to pay any rent to the landlord during this period of time and the landlord will be responsible for reimbursing you a reasonable amount for that temporary housing, as well as reimbursing you for any other expenses or costs, including your reasonable moving expenses.

If the temporary housing chosen by the landlord is suitable and you refuse to accept it, then you will have to find temporary housing on your own and you will have to pay for that housing on your own. In this case, you do not have to pay any rent to the landlord until you are permitted back into your own home. In addition, your landlord does not have to reimburse you for any other expenses or costs, except your reasonable moving costs. The landlord must, however, pay you any difference between the cost of the suitable temporary housing that the landlord first chose for you (which you rejected) and the normal rent that you would have paid to the landlord for your apartment that is being deleaded.44

No matter where you choose to stay, the landlord must pay your reasonable moving costs. If you and the landlord cannot agree on a plan for temporary substitute housing, you should consult an attorney to help you negotiate with the landlord.

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