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TENANT SAFETY CHECKLIST: Asbestos, Lead, Radon, Carbon Monoxide, and Pests
LEGAL RESOURCES: Landlord Disclosure, Rental Accessibility, and Energy Efficiency Law
“A tenant has the right to live in a home that is in reasonable repair, fit for use as a proper home, meets local housing codes, and is reasonably energy efficient.”
2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.161 COVENANTS OF LANDLORD OR LICENSOR.
Navigating Lead as a Safety Concern in Your Home
It is required that tenants are notified if there is lead in a house in the leasing agreement (Federal Landlord Lead Disclosure Law: Section 1018 of Title X)
The EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) requires all firms, renovators, and contractors performing RRP projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities, and preschools built before 1978 be lead-safety certified by the EPA. Failure of a firm, renovator, or contractor to comply could result in fines of up to $37,500. This does not apply to homeowners or renters, however, anyone doing renovation that may disturb lead- based paint should consult the EPA’s “Renovation, Repair and Painting Program: Do-It- Yourselfers” webpage for the latest lead-safety practices.
Houses built before 1980 are likely to have a layer of lead paint
In these houses, lead paint is a health risk (even if painted over) when it is on “friction surfaces” such as windows, window sashes, doors, or door frames.
See 2020 Minn. Stat. § 144.9504 Subd. 2 to determine whether your household qualifies for a free lead risk assessment conducted by the city community health board
Navigating Asbestos as a Safety Concern in Your Home
Note: Where properly encased and untouched, asbestos does not pose a risk to renters’ health
It is required that tenants are notified if there is asbestos in a house in the leasing agreement (2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.195)
Looks like a white cast cover wrapped around heating pipes (often found in the basement)
Wrapped around old gravity-fed boilers
Textured paints (such as popcorn ceilings or ceiling tiles)
Asbestos in Depth and Who Can Help
General Repair Resources:
SCARY THINGS CHECKLIST*
Asbestos, Lead, Radon, Carbon Monoxide, and Pests
Radon detector in the basement
Carbon monoxide detector
Check smoke detector batteries
Visible mold is treated
Lead paint on walls and baseboards is painted over (encapsulated)
Peeling or chipping lead paint is completely removed (abated) BEFORE residents move into rental space and using the proper EPA lead-safety protocol
Lead paint is also completely removed (abated) from “friction surfaces” such as windows, window sashes, doors, door frames, and other surfaces that are regularly rubbed against. Old windows can be stripped and reglazed without using noxious chemicals.
Local custom window inserts: A-Craft
Ensure that all contractors performing RRP projects that may disturb lead-based paint are lead-safety certified by the EPA
Old gravity-fed boilers and basement piping with asbestos insulation is completely encapsulated (not flaking or peeling). If not, consider a Zero VOC Encapsulant to repair.
Asbestos insulation that is in high-traffic areas (likely to be bumped by residents or repair people) is completely removed (abated) before residents move into the house
Your home is pest free (check for mouse droppings, skittering noises, bed bugs, and termites). pet-safe live mouse trap. For environmentally friendly pest control companies, check to see whether the company participates in the EPA's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) as well as the
National Pest Management Association's GreenPro certification process
*If you find that any of these issues is not up to MN housing code, you have a right and responsibility to alert your landlord to this issue and be responded to in a timely manner.
After alerting your landlord, many landlords will be happy to pay back tenants for hiring and scheduling their own contractor repair services, or if it is a low-risk job, to deduct expenses you accrue from fixing the issue yourself from your rent.
Under Minnesota law, if a landlord has not done repairs 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (printed and time-stamped texts or emails are also legally legitimate), then tenants have the right to “Repair and Deduct” (Tenant Repair Act) the costs of repair from rent. Other legal options include filing a Rent Escrow Action (2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.385) or act as a collective Neighborhood Organization (2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.001 Subd. 5). This is only applicable if the repair request initially sent regards one of the landlord’s legal responsibilities/covenants to tenants (find in More Legal Resources section). Tenants may also report negligent landlords to a local city or county housing inspector (see 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.185 for more details). It is the legal right of tenants to not be threatened by retaliation (such as eviction) by landlords they have reported for housing code violations.
More Legal Resources
Housing Code Law/Landlord Responsibilities:
The Office of MN Attorney General Keith Ellison Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities
Landlord Disclosure Law: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.181
Attorney General (duties): 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.275
Code Violations: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.195
Inspection Orders, Notice: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.195
Rental Property Accessibility Law
Accessible Units, Rental Priority: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 363A.40
Caretakers, Disclosure: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.181
Contested Cases, Unfair Discriminatory Practices, Orders: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 363A.29
Liability, Lessors, Unfair Discriminatory Practices: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 363A.28
Municipal Accessible Housing Programs: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 462C.05
Accessible Housing Property Taxes, Exemptions: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 272.02 - 272.025
Accessible Visitability: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 462A.34
Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Code Law
Energy Conservation Covenants of Landlord or Licensor: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.161
Energy Efficiency Standards Violations: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 216C.30
Complaints, Energy Efficiency Standards Data (classification): 2020 Minn. Stat. § 13.679
Code Violations Lawsuits: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.425
Building Repair Orders, Noncompliance, Landlords, Penalties: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.391
Cold Weather Notice (failure to give): 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.155
Weatherization: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 216C.264
Utility Costs: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.215
Single-Metered Residential Buildings, Rights and Duties: 2020 Minn. Stat. § 504B.215