What home sellers don’t tell you about lead

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part 4 of a special report examining D.C.’s drinking water. 

WASHINGTON — If you’re looking to buy a house in the region, there’s something you should know.

Eldad Moraru, from Long & Foster, says current rules do not obligate sellers to disclose knowledge of lead-based pipes to buyers.

Moraru said one option for buyers is to simply ask the seller whether the home ever had lead pipes and whether they have been replaced.

“If the sellers took care of it then they’ll know, because it’s not cheap,” he tells WTOP.

Moraru said lead pipes may also be uncovered during the inspection process.

“That is something that an inspector should be able to very, very easily figure out, as long as the pipe that’s coming into the house isn’t concealed,” he said.

Buyers can also take a sample of the tap water inside the home and have it tested for lead.

“If you do that, you’ve got to make sure that you have enough time to send the test out and get the results back,” Moraru said.

If lead pipes are found on the property, he said, sellers are not obligated to replace them before the home is sold.

“If they offer to do anything, more likely than not they’re going to offer to give the buyer a monetary credit and let the buyer change the pipes after settlement,” Moraru said.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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