DESCRIPTION OF THE STRATEGY
Imposing fees on real estate transactions and on the licenses of professionals who procure housing, risk management, or lead services can help subsidize the cost of managing public sector systems for lead poisoning prevention. Fees levied on real estate transactions (e.g. for the recording of deeds or tax stamps) and on licenses for professions and disciplines such as real estate agents, insurance agents, lead inspectors, risk assessors, lead abatement contractors, and others can be a source of dedicated income for lead poisoning prevention programs. These types of strategies would be more common at the state level, but enactment and implementation is possible at the county and municipal levels as well.
New or increased recurring funding sources are immediately created as the fee structure goes into effect. These funds can be used to support primary prevention programs that may have little, if any, funding from other sources.
Funds from these fees or surcharges can be used to fund existing childhood lead poisoning prevention programs as well as initiatives that complement efforts already in existence.
By targeting home purchases and individuals directly involved with buying, selling, and insuring housing, such fees could raise awareness among homebuyers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, insurers, and others about lead poisoning prevention issues. Such a strategy may also reinforce the responsibility of buyers, agents, and others to ensure that the home involved in a specific transaction is lead-safe.
Scope of Potential Impact
City - or - County - Wide
|State Licensing and Certification Agencies||Code Inspection Agencies|
Certified Lead Abatement Contractors
Insurance companies and brokers
Minor to moderate administrative activities would be required at the start-up of a strategy that imposes a fee on real estate transactions or a surcharge on certain professional licenses. It is unlikely that any new staff would be required to implement such fees or surcharges.
Other resource requirements:
In the case of professional license surcharges, the agency(s) that oversees the licensing may need to be involved in administering the strategy.
New statutory or code sections, naming the specific real estate transactions or professional licenses involved, must be added, and the agency(s) involved may need to promulgate new regulations to implement the strategy.
Small start-up costs to the government agencies responsible for the collection of the new fees or surcharges can be expected, but no further costs should exist beyond this transition period.
Moderate. Political will, bolstered by the support of individuals, community and statewide organizations, and those who have been adversely affected by lead poisoning will be key to implementing this strategy. Partnering with professionals in the real estate or insurance worlds who are concerned about or aware of lead hazards in homes would also be useful.
The lack of political will to impose a new fee or surcharge is the major obstacle that could block the realization of this strategy. Once put in place, a license surcharge strategy may have to overcome overburdened licensing agencies or inefficient transfer of revenues. A minimal fee on real estate transactions is not likely to face significant implementation barriers.