The liability posed by lead-based paint has prompted one North Carolina city to make older homes ineligible for a program that assists first-time home buyers.
Houses built before 1978 are no longer eligible for the First Time Homebuyers program in Hickory, NC, after a city council vote of approval Monday (Sept. 17).
|Lead testing and retesting costs hundreds of dollars, an expense that eats away at the program budget, the city says.|
City officials say expensive lead-based paint rules that affect painting and renovation of older homes eat away at the program budget and reduce the number of people helped by the program.
The city’s loan program offers interest-free loans of $5,000 to $10,000 to help residents with down payments or closing costs when purchasing a new or existing home within city limits.
However, the typical costs associated with lead-based paint tests and removal forced city officials and regional planning agencies to take a closer look at the program requirements.
Federal dollars pay for the program.
Federal rules require that any house built before 1978 be tested for lead-based paint. Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.
If the test indicates lead, the paint must be properly removed and another test performed to ensure all the lead is gone. Hickory foots the bill for the testing for those people using the city loan program.
According to a report in the Hickory Daily Record, initial testing costs between $400 and $650 in the area. The cost for the retest averages between $300 and $400.
“Combine those expenses with the actual lead removal, and the total price can soar,” the report said.