Starting in April, renovations that disturb lead-based paint in older residential dwellings and child-occupied facilities must generally comply with the Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the newly implemented rule, renovators of housing built before 1978 must now be trained and EPA-certified to perform safe work practices to prevent lead contamination. Additionally, renovators must deliver EPA’s lead renovation pamphlet to an occupant within 60 days before a project begins (and, if mailed, at least seven days before a project begins). Renovators must also obtain the occupant’s signed acknowledgment of receipt or substitute documentation as specified.
The EPA issued this rule in 2008, but delayed implementation until now. The rule generally applies to building contractors, handymen, residential landlords, property managers, and anyone else who is paid to perform renovations or to direct workers to perform renovations as specified. The lead renovation rule does not apply to homeowners renovating the homes they live in. However, sellers of target housing must, among other things, disclose to their buyers any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.
Renovation work covered by the lead renovation rule is defined as a modification of an existing structure that disturbs a painted surface, such as surface restoration or surface preparation activity. Excluded are minor repair and maintenance activities that disrupt up to 6 square feet of interior painted surface or 20 square feet of exterior painted surface. Demolitions and window replacements are not considered minor repairs.
Berkeley Hills Realty has investigated the new rule as it applies to the way we help sellers prepare their homes for sale. Conversations with several small area broker/managers produced an interesting array of reactions. Local responses run the gamut from agencies who believe they have no obligation to police the new rule (maintaining business as usual), through agencies who have halted pre-market preparations over broad liability concerns associated with complying with the rule. At Berkeley Hills Realty, we believe in staying attune to all new information affecting real estate and home ownership. We also believe in the value of well chosen market preparations and will continue to advise our clients on the best approach to market their homes.
Berkeley Hills Realty hopes to be a source of consumer education regarding the new EPA rule. We are informing clients of the existence of the regulation. In addition we have checked with some of the painters and contractors whom we regularly recommend to make certain they are aware of the Lead-based Paint Renovation Rule and to verify that any new certification requirements have been met. We recommend all owners of pre-1978 homes make certain that new work is preformed by licensed contractors with knowledge of and the certification required by the new rule.
Much of the above infomation is sourced through the California Association of Realtors. For more information about the lead renovation rule, C.A.R. offers a legal article entitled Federal Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule. See also EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting webpage. which includes the new requirements, pamphlets, and other resources. To locate an EPA-certified renovation firm.