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Homeowners, Agents, and Renters

Lead can be found in homes, particularly in tap water and in paint. As a homeowner or a renter, you have certain rights and responsibilities, and this page will help you to learn more about the Massachusetts Lead Law and home renovations, as well as lead in water and lead service lines.

The Massachusetts Lead Law

  • The Massachusetts Lead Law requires that any home built before 1978 where a child under the age of 6 lives must be made lead safe by removing or covering any lead paint hazards.
  • Lead paint hazards include loose lead paint and lead paint on windows and other surfaces accessible to children. Homeowners are responsible for complying with the law. If a child is poisoned by lead hazards in their primary residence, the homeowner will be held responsible.
  • Homeowners cannot evict or refuse to rent to anyone because of lead paint in their dwelling unit.
  • Organizations such as the Boston Fair Housing Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination can assist you if you believe you have been discriminated against.

For more information on the Massachusetts de-leading law and childhood lead poisoning prevention, contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 617-624-5757​. 

Don't know how to remove lead? We can help!

We provide free trainings to property owners and agents on de-leading of a moderate-risk. This can significantly reduce the overall costs of eliminating lead in their residences. Please call 617- 534-5965 for information on lead removal. If you'd like to attend the Moderate Risk De-leading Training course, click here for an application.

Lead in Water

  • Does your home have a lead service line? The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) maintains the distribution of the drinking water through its water mains and also flushes water mains to improve drinking water quality for residences and businesses. However, your home may have an old lead service line that connects the home to the Boston water main under the street, particularly if your home was built before 1940. To find out if your home's water contains lead, search your address in the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) database here.​

Though many of these older service lines have been replaced, your home could still have one. Property owners are responsible for the replacement of this service line. Boston Water and Sewer Commission provides assistance with replacement of lead service lines. For more information, you can visit the BWSC website or call 617-989-7888.

  • To determine if your home's water contains lead, you can get your water tested by a lab that is MassDEP certified to test household tap water for lead. MassDEP certified labs reliably test water at an affordable cost. Mail-in and drop-off options are available. Visit the MassDEP Certified Lab webpage for a list of labs and helpful links.

Lead in Paint

Lead may also be found in your home's paint. According to the Massachusetts Lead Law, property owners must remove or cover all lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any child under 6 years old lives. This includes rental properties. 

BPHC can help you figure out if your property has lead paint through a property inspection. ​If your home has lead paint, there are financial resources available to help you abate or remove the lead paint through the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development and Mass Housing's Get the Lead Out Program.

Additional Resources

More questions? Contact the Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965.

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org