FAQs on new lead-based paint rules (OR: June 2010)

Lorie Garland
Asst. Vice President
OAR Legal Affairs

Last month’s OHIO REALTOR discussed new regulations regarding lead-based paint. Those regulations involve renovations to properties that were built before 1978 that disturb paint. The following are questions regarding these new provisions:

Q: What types of properties are covered by the Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule?
A: The rule applies to renovations to residential houses, apartments and child occupied facilities such as schools and daycare centers built before 1978.

Q: What is considered a renovation to pre-78 housing?
A: A renovation is broadly defined to include any repair, maintenance or renovation activity that disturbs more than six square feet of painted surface per room for interior work or 20 square feet of painted surface for exterior work.

Q: If a renovation to pre-78 housing occurs, what requirements have to be met?
A: The renovator (the person/company hired to perform the work that disturbs the paint) must comply with the pre-renovation notification requirements to the property owner and tenants, if a rental property.  This requires that the contractor doing the work provide the owner or tenant with a pamphlet entitled “Renovate Right” before commencing work.  Additionally, the renovator must also be certified and must follow lead-safe work practices that minimize occupants’ exposure to lead hazards.

Q: Are there any renovations to pre-78 housing that are excluded from the Rule?
A: Yes.  The following housing renovations are excluded:
• Housing for elderly or disabled persons, unless children under 6 reside or are expected to reside there.
• An unoccupied dwelling unit or residential property that is to be demolished, provided that the dwelling unit or property will remain unoccupied until demolition.
• Zero bedroom dwellings (studio apartments, dormitories, etc.)
• Housing or components declared lead-free by a certified inspector or risk assessor.

Q: If the homeowner performs repair or renovation work in the home he lives in, does this work fall under the rule’s requirements?
A: No.

Q: If I own a residential rental property and I am performing repair or renovation work on my rental property, does this work fall under the rule’s requirements?
A: Yes.  You would be required to comply with the pre-renovation tenant notice requirements and be properly certified.

Q: How does a person/company become certified?
A: A renovator can become certified by taking an eight hour course from an EPA accredited trainer.  The EPA provides a list of accredited training providers on its website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_training.htm.  Once certified, all work must be performed pursuant to the EPA’s lead-safe work practices requirements.

Q: What if I don’t want to become certified?
A: Then a certified renovator would have to be hired to perform the work.  A list of certified renovators in your area can be found on the EPA’s website at http://efpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm.

Q: My agent represents a buyer who is interested in purchasing a pre-78 home that was recently rehabbed.  The buyer has small children and is concerned about lead-based paint.  What can the buyer do to alleviate his concerns regarding lead-based paint?
A: The seller is required to disclose his knowledge of lead-based paint on the property on the Residential Property Disclosure Form and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure and Acknowledgement Form. The buyer could ask the seller to provide the names of the contractors performing work on the home and if they were properly certified. Ultimately, the buyer may want to have their own lead hazard evaluation done by a certified firm and make any offer contingent on obtaining a lead report acceptable to the buyer.

Q: I represent an investor who is buying a pre-78 property that he will rehab.  Is it my duty as his agent to inform him that he must hire a certified “renovator” to do any work that disturbs the paint?
A: There is no law that imposes this type of duty on a buyer’s agent.

For more information about the new lead-based paint rule, go to www.epa.gov/lead.