August 11, 2010

New EPA Rule Regarding Lead Paint Will Affect Repair Work on Older Buildings

Lead-based paint, which has been shown to be the cause of serious health problems, was unfortunately common in buildings constructed before 1978. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting ("RRP") Rule, contractors and painters are currently required to follow specified lead safety work practices and to provide lead safety information to owners and tenants before they start renovation, repair, or painting work on pre-1978 residential housing and child-occupied facilities. On October 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") will also begin enforcing a new portion of the RRP Rule that requires contractors and painters to obtain lead paint safety certification before working on pre-1978 buildings covered by the rule. To become certified, contractors and painters must attend a training course provided or approved by the EPA that provides instruction on how to work safely with lead-based paint.

Owners of rental housing and maintenance workers in multi-family housing (including condominiums) must follow the requirements of the RRP Rule. However, this rule does not apply to owners working on their own property (without tenants), and it also does not apply to “minor” maintenance or repair activities.

Associations and individual owners with pre-1978 homes or condominiums must be careful when hiring contractors and painters. They should ask what specific lead safety work practices will be used, and (after October 1st) ask to see the contractor’s or painter’s EPA certificate. For more information about lead paint safety, read the EPA’s information pamphlet (Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools). For further information about the requirements of the RRP Rule, visit the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting website or contact your association’s attorney.