Metro council member proposes rental property lead ordinance

The ordinance would require landlords to register their properties and conduct lead assessments.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:19 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In Louisville, at least 614 children are tested for high levels of lead in their blood each year. Now, a metro council member wants to develop a proactive program to encourage landlords to address lead hazards.

In a newly-filed Metro Council ordinance, landlords would be required to register their properties and identify and correct any lead issues. If the bill is passed, the landlord would be required to hire a private inspector to conduct the lead investigation. Anything discovered, such as chipped lead paint, would have to be repaired or removed.

In the last 16 years, 9,823 children have been tested for elevated levels of lead in their blood. According to the health department, there is no safe level of lead in children. The problem is concentrated in the county’s northwestern corner, where the majority of rental properties were built before 1978. That year, the EPA prohibited the use of lead-based paint.

This ordinance does not apply to lead water lines, and according to health officials, there are few lead water lines leading from the street to homes.

“Pre-1978 paint it has lead in it, it begins to decay, it turns into dust, it ends up in the soil, so that’s what we’re focused on, those things that are inside of lots of our older housing stock,” Metro Council Member Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-District 8) said.

If the ordinance is passed, owners of rental properties built before 1950 will have one year to comply. Property owners with properties built between 1950 and 1978 would have two years to comply.

The ordinance will be presented to the council on Thursday. A committee will need to take up the proposal next.

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