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FAQ

Lead is a heavy metal which is highly toxic (poisonous).It was used for many years in products found in and around the home. It is mostly found in paint products.

Paint. If a home was built before 1978, chances are very good it contains lead-based paint. The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Although some states stopped using it even earlier, lead can still be typically found:

  • In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
  • In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
  • Inside and outside of the house.
  • In the soil around a home. (Soil picks up lead from exterior paint and other sources like past use of leaded gas in cars)
  • In household dust. (Dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked into a home)
  • In drinking water. If your home was built before 1987 it might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
    • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
    • Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
  • On the job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Try to always shower and change clothes before coming home. Be sure to launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family's clothes.
  • On old painted toys and furniture.
  • In food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
  • Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
  • Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery, stained glass or refinishing furniture.
  • In folk remedies that contain lead such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.


Lead-based paint is paint that has lead mixed in it at the factory where it was made or had lead mixed in it by someone like a painter before applying it to a surface. The Federal definition is any paint or surface coatings that contain lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligram per square centimeter or more than 0.5 percent by weight.

A lead-based paint hazard is any condition that causes human exposure to lead from deteriorated lead-based paint, lead in household dust or lead in soil.  Typical causes in the home are windows and doors that open and close often or painted floors that are high-traffic areas.

Yes! We have been enrolling new properties starting in 2016. The City is currently taking applications and we encourage you to submit one. Please fill out the application and return it to the Planning & Community Development Department at One City Hall Plaza, Manchester, NH. We strongly encourage property owners who rent to families with young children to apply.

No – MHI Funds can only be used to treat lead-based paint hazards in residential dwellings. Our program is focused on providing healthy, safe housing for families.

No, this program is focused on single-family housing, such as multi-bedroom apartments and attached, semi-detached, and detached housing. One-bedroom apartments are included as single-family housing. To meet the criteria of single-family housing, a unit must have 1+ bedrooms and its own amenities that are not shared with other units (bathroom and kitchen). Single-family, non-rental homes can qualify for our program if there are young children living in or visiting the home, or if a resident is pregnant.

Yes. We are able to repair vacant units quickly, as long as electricity, heat and water are turned on in the unit. After construction is complete, you will certify during annual compliance that you are renting the repaired units to target-demographic families at or below fair-market rents, as defined by HUD. Please review our application materials for current rates.

Property owners must provide at least a 10% cash contribution to the project, in the form of a cashier's check made out to the City of Manchester. The 10% will be based on the winning construction bid. There is no owner cash match required for assessment costs.

If you own multi-family buildings and rent to low-to-moderate income populations, your property will likely qualify. If only some of your units qualify under our program standards (for example, if only some of the units are rented to low-income families) you may still be able to participate; please give us a call. If your property is luxury or high-end apartments or condominiums, or is single family homes that rent to middle- or upper-income residents, your property would probably not meet our income or rent requirements, as set annually by HUD. Please download our application to verify those requirements. If you do not meet our program requirements and still need to have lead abatement services completed for your property, please visit the State of New Hampshire Health and Human Services Department to identify an NH licensed lead abatement contractor.

Typically, no. Because lead hazards are usually found building-wide, our assessors need to evaluate an entire property, including all of the units, common areas, exteriors and bare soil, as applicable. Units which have already earned a lead-safe certificate may not need to be assessed again. Units which may have had some lead hazard repairs but do not have a current lead-safe certificate will need to be assessed again by our program. If only some of your units qualify under program guidelines, please give us a call to discuss options; you may still be able to participate in the program. Please always call us to discuss your situation before submitting a partial application to the program. (603) 792-6726

It depends. If you are a licensed lead abatement contractor with the State of New Hampshire, and you meet our pre-qualification standards, we can discuss a cost-reimbursable agreement for supplies only. We prefer that properties go through our public bid process.

Public health and income verification information is kept confidential. If a tenant has questions, or prefers to provide information directly to program staff, please have them give us a call. (603) 792-6726

No. We do prioritize applications as they come in, and properties under an active state lead order are a high priority for our program. But any property which houses young children, or might house young children in the future, and rents to low-to-moderate income populations, likely would qualify for the program.

If you comply with program guidelines, this interest-free loan is forgiven in its entirety after 3 years. The only cost to the property owner is typically the 10% match. Please review application materials for more information.

Yes. Properties that have been maintained are more likely to fall within the reasonable funding range, per HUD guidelines. Properties that have not been maintained, or have significant costs such as rotted wooden decks or siding, failing asbestos exteriors, or old windows with chipped paint, may have costs that exceed HUD's funding thresholds for our program, currently set at $11,000 per unit. The lead program is concerned with lead hazards which may cause a child to become poisoned; these hazards are most often found within unit interiors. We have some ability to fund exterior work, but it is not the primary purpose of the program. If your property has significant exterior work that needs to be completed, please call to talk to the program before submitting an application.

It is typically easiest and best for tenants to stay with family or friends. If that is not an option, the property owner may use an empty unit for temporary housing, or provide alternate housing. If that is not an option, the program can help coordinate temporary housing for tenants with the property owner. Because an active construction site can have lead hazards, it is important that tenants understand that they cannot access their units during construction. The program needs to be able to clear a housing unit before tenants return to ensure that lead hazards are not present. Please contact us with any questions about temporary housing during lead construction. If you are seeking information on emergency housing unrelated to the lead program, please dial 2-1-1 on your phone.

You may request a lead screening test from your primary care physician. Or, you may contact the Manchester Health Department to discuss a free lead screening appointment. Call Health at (603) 624-6466 or visit their web site.

Properties that are currently on the market cannot participate in the program until after ownership has changed hands. It is common for home owners to look into lead abatement services when preparing to sell a property. Because our program relies on an agreement between the property owner and the city which lasts a minimum of three (3) years, any agreement to participate in the program must be made between the new property owner and the city. If you are looking to purchase a property which has lead hazards, or is under state order, you may reach out to our program before you purchase the property to discuss options. Please note that new property owners will not be able to contract with the city for any grant funds from the lead hazard reduction program until after they have taken ownership of the property.

To ensure that we are working with property owners who will be able to meet our three-year commitment to renting to under-income families, the lead program will verify that payments related to the property are up to date. Please review the program application to verify all of the types of documentation we require from the property owner. All program documentation is confidential, and is only used to verify that a property meets program guidelines.

The City of Manchester, NH requires that all residential rental property within the City have a Certificate of Compliance in accordance with the regulations set forth in Chapter 150 Housing Code of the City of Manchester, Code of Ordinances.

Per section 150.069 on Lead Based Paint, "All interior and exterior surfaces of dwellings, dwelling units, and rooming units shall be free of loose or flaking paint. All newly applied paint must meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards as being safe in accordance with the provisions of the Board of Health Department. ('71 Code, § 13-69) (Ord. passed 4-15-80) Penalty, see § 150.999."

Please note that property owners should keep all painted surfaces intact, regardless of whether there is a known lead hazard on the property. If you personally plan to disturb possible lead-paint surfaces in your property through scraping, stripping or blasting, please review EPA RRP regulations first to ensure your renovations meet required standards.

Please review your contract materials to determine whether the property enrolled in the NHHFA or the Manchester program. If you need to locate contract materials, please email us the address you are inquiring about, and the year you believe the property enrolled in a Manchester lead hazard reduction program. Manchester has funded this type of work since 2003. Please note that the city will not have documentation on jobs that were completed privately. You should contact the lead inspector or the State DHHS office if the property was under a state order of lead reduction.

If you have a question about past Manchester contract language, please email us your query, including the project address. Programs prior to 2012 may require repayment of the loan. If you have a hardship query, you should plan to draft an explanatory letter for review by the CIP Coordinator and the Aldermanic CIP Committee.