Title X, also known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Reduction Act of 1992, was an act aimed to protect families, and especially young children, from exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil. Title X imposes several requirements. For instance, Section 1018 of Title X requires disclosure of known information on lead-based paint before the sale or lease of housing units built before 1978. Additionally, landlords and sellers must provide (1) EPA-approved information on lead-based paint hazards; (2) an attachment to the contract or lease which include a Lead Warning Statement, which represents that the buyer has complied with all notification requirements; and (3) a 10-day period for homebuyers to conduct a paint inspection or lead-based paint hazards.
For a renter to bring action under Title X, they must show that: (1) he or she was a lessee; (2) the defendant was a lessor who failed to make proper disclosures; (3) the leased property was "target housing;" and (4) the lease contract was signed after the regulation (Title X) was effective. The term "target housing" generally refers to any housing constructed prior to 1978, except for housing for the elderly or person with disabilities, or any 0-bedroom dwelling.
New York courts have explained that the duty under Title X can be imposed on a landlord/ lessor under actual or constructive notice. In this context, actual notice is established by a showing that: (1) some or all of the leased premises were painted with lead-based paint; and (2) the paint containing lead was in a state of disrepair (e.g., peeling). On the other hand, constructive notice is established through a showing that the landlord: (1) retained a right of entry to the premises and assumed a duty to make repairs; (2) knew that the apartment was constructed at a time before lead-based interiors were banned; (3) was aware that the paint was in disrepair; (4) knew the hazards of lead-based paint to young children; and (5) knew that a young child live in the premise.
Under Section 4852d(b)(3) of the act, any person who knowingly violates the act can be subject to civil liability for three times the amount of damages incurred by the harmed individual. Although the mens rea requirement for Title X violations apply to any person who "knowingly" violates the act, no proof of willfulness or bad faith is required to meet this standard.
Note that Title X is a term used for a variety of acts, and this Title X should be distinguished from, for example, Title X Family Planning Program (The Family Planning Services and Public Research Act of 1970).
[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]