Get the Lead Out:
Easing the Cost of Lead Paint Abatement

Through MassHousing, low-cost financing is available for one- to four-family homes to address lead-based paint hazards, either owned by a low-to-moderate income owner-occupant or in which low- or moderate-income tenants reside.

Owner-occupants may be eligible for a 0% deferred payment loan that is due only upon the sale, transfer or refinancing of the home. Call HAPHousing 413-233-1614 or go to the MassHousing website for more information.

Massachusetts taxpayers also can claim a tax credit on their state income tax based on the actual cost of deleading any units receiving a Letter of Compliance during the course of the tax year, up to a maximum of $1,500 per deleaded unit. (A maximum tax credit of $500 per unit can be claimed for units for which a Letter of Interim Control has been issued.)

Loan Limits:
Single Family Home                $30,000.00         Three Family  Home              $40,000.00
Two Family Home                   $35,000.00          Four Family  Home                $45,000.00
If Lead Paint Mortgagors are obtaining grant funds or financing additional lead abatement from their own funds, these funds must be evidenced in the form of an award, money order or certified check. The Lead Paint Abatement loan will not close without this documented information verified by the Local Rehabilitation Agency.

Interest Rates and Loan Terms for Owner Occupants:

  • All income eligible families who are under court order to delead or have a child who is under case management with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) will continue to receive 0% deferred payment loans. Owner occupants make no monthly payments on the lead paint loan. Repayment of the entire loan amount is deferred until the sale, refinance or transfer of the property.
  • Owner applicants wishing to delead their homes for preventative reasons must qualify for an amortizing loan with a 3% interest rate if their income is 80% or less of Area Median Income.
  • Owner applicants wishing to delead their homes for preventative reasons with incomes over 80% of Area Median Income and up to MassHousing’s income limits must qualify for an amortizing loan with a 5% interest rate.

Interest Rates and Loan Terms for Non-Owner Occupants:

  • Owners wishing to delead their homes for preventative reasons must with incomes over 80% of Area Median Income and up to MassHousing income limits must qualify for an amortizing loan with 5% interest rate.
  • Non-Profit Loans- 0% interest rate, fully amortized.

Lead Paint Loan Amounts and Loan Terms:
$3,000.00-  $5,999.00                                            5 Years
$6,000.00-  $14,999.00                                          10 Years or Less
$15,000.00-$45,000.00                                          15 Years

Loans must be paid off upon the sale, transfer or refinance of the property, and payments of loans may not be assumed by third parties, whether incident to sale or otherwise. Loans are due upon refinancing of the existing first mortgage unless a subordination agreement has been signed by the Agency.

Only State-licensed lead paint inspectors, licensed, deleading contractors, licensed lead safe renovators, homeowners who have received a CLPPP Certificate are eligible to perform lead paint removal.

Borrowers should be prepared to pay a fee of $150.00 at closing and a fee of 4.5% of the lead abatement amount, with a maximum fee of $1,000.00 to HAP, Inc. These fees can be incorporated into the full loan amount.

There is a limited amount of loan funds each year for the program and it’s reserved on a first come first serve basis.

Download the current Get The Lead Out loan program income limits (organized by city/town).

Please call Kimberly Scott at HAPHousing at (413) 233-1614, for an application or with any questions.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead.  Lead can be found in many places, including paint, soil, toys, glazes on ceramic dishes and even tap water. Lead is a poison when it gets into the body. Young children absorb lead more easily than adults. Among the many harmful effects associated with lead poisoning are:

  • Damage to the brain, kidneys, and nervous system
  • Problems with growth and development
  • Learning problems
  • Speech and hearing problems
  • Behavioral problems

Most of the lead poisoning in Massachusetts comes from lead paint in older homes. Most homes built before 1978 have lead paint on the inside and outside of the building. When old paint peels and cracks, it creates lead paint chips and lead dust. 

Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. A lead test is the only way to know if a child has lead poisoning. Every child in Massachusetts must be tested for lead. The first test must be done between the ages of nine and twelve months. Children must be tested again at ages two and three. Those who live in a high-risk community such as Springfield or Holyoke must also be tested at age four. Every child must have a lead test before they begin Kindergarten.

More information about lead poisoning can be found at website for the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP).

Making your property safe

The only permanent way to reduce the risk of lead poisoning is to have your home deleaded (brought into compliance with state lead safety requirements). The owner is responsible for having the home deleaded or brought under interim control whenever a child under the age of six lives there. Fair Housing regulations make it illegal for an owner to refuse to rent to anyone because a child under six lives in the household. Apartments receiving subsidy payments under the Section 8 program must be deleaded if anyone under six lives in the household.

Notification requirements

The owner of any property built before 1978 must give all tenants a copy of the state-approved four-page lead hazard information form when they first move into the property - together with the most recent copies of the lead paint inspection report and letter of compliance for that property, if such documents exist.  The property owner must comply with this notification requirement even if no child under six resides in the household.
Federal law requires that renovators, contractors and painters give a copy the EPA pamphlet Renovate Right to homeowners and tenants if they are going to renovate more than six square feet of painted surface within a room or 20 square feet of exterior painted surfaces of any building built before 1978. 

Effective April, 2010, federal law will also require that all contractors who disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be certified in lead-safe work practices. (See for more information)

Deleading (lead paint abatement)

The goal of the deleading process is to abate lead hazards by removing or, when appropriate, containing any paint, plaster or other accessible structural material that contains dangerous levels of lead. This includes correction of any structural defects in the building, such as roof or plumbing leaks or deteriorating windows, which can damage lead-containing surfaces. The owner of the property is responsible for all deleading costs.

Generally, not all of the lead-based paint present in the living unit will need to be removed or covered in the deleading process; only surfaces that can pose a hazard must be dealt with. Put most simply, the deleading process reduces to three distinct steps.

  1. The unit is first inspected for the presence of lead paint.
  2. Next, the abatement process takes place. 
  3. Finally, the unit is re-inspected to insure that it is now in compliance with the lead paint regulations.

The inspection process determines what surfaces must be brought into compliance with lead paint regulations. Surfaces from which lead must be removed if found present include:

  • Loose, peeling, chipping, cracking or falling paint or plaster.
  • Movable surfaces from which lead-containing materials can break free, such as non-fixed windows, even if they are more than five feet above the floor or ground.
  • Intact mouthable surfaces to a height of five feet and four inches back from the chewable edge, including: windowsills; windows, movable or fixed, below the five-foot level; stair treads from the lip to the riser on the bottom and four inches back from the lip at the top of the tread; stair rail spindles; and door frames and other similar surfaces, such as trim or moldings, which have an edge that extends greater than half an inch.
  • Movable surfaces from which lead-containing materials can break free, such as non-fixed windows, even if they are more than five feet above the floor or ground.

Inspections can only be completed by a licensed Massachusetts lead paint inspector using a Mobile X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analyzer (or less frequently or reliably, by testing with sodium sulfide solution). A list of licensed inspectors can be obtained through the CLPPP website.

The second step is the actual lead abatement process. All deleading activities must be performed by someone approved to do so by CLPPP. An owner may undertake certain “low-risk” and “moderate-risk” abatement activities on his or her property after completing training in these techniques. While this training is not as extensive as that required of a licensed professional, it does acquaint the owner with the basic safety considerations that are required for safe deleading. 

Low-risk deleading allows the owner to undertake simple deleading tasks that do not disturb intact paint. A property owner may become approved to undertake low-risk deleading activities on his or her own property by completing and returning a home-study booklet available from CLPPP

Moderate-risk deleading, which allows the owner to undertake repairs that minimally disturb lead-painted surfaces, requires completion of a one-day course offered at training sites around the state. A list of trainers for moderate-risk deleading techniques can be found at the CLPPP website

Only a professional lead paint abatement contractor or “deleader” who is properly licensed and insured can perform the more complex “high-risk” abatement activities, which may substantially disturb lead-containing surfaces. A list of licensed deleaders can be found through the CLPPP website.

Once the deleading process is completed, the lead inspector will re-inspect the property to make certain that all required work has been accomplished and that the site has been cleaned of all lead-containing dust and debris. The inspector will then issue the property owner a Letter of Compliance, which signifies that the property has been brought into compliance with Massachusetts lead paint safety requirements.