Do the New Federal Regulations on Old Lead Based Paint Affect Your Association?

To protect against the harm which can be caused by lead-based paint, new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affecting apartments and condominiums took effect April 22, 2010. These regulations may apply to repair and maintenance projects at your condominium.

The Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule applies to renovation, repair, or painting activities in pre-1978 residential, public, or commercial buildings where children under age six are present on a regular basis. 40 CFR Part 745 Subpart E.

The Rule does not apply to: 1) interior repairs disturbing less than six (6) square feet of lead-based paint, or 2) exterior repairs disturbing less than twenty (20) square feet of lead-based paint, BUT……the regulations will always apply to window replacements, regardless of the surface area affected.

Other exceptions include:

- Repair or maintenance work in a target building where a certified inspector has issued a written determination that the area affected by the repair work is free (to an acceptable level) of paint or surface coatings containing lead,

- Projects where a certified renovator using an EPA approved test kit has determined that the affected area is free (to an acceptable level) of paint or other surface coatings containing lead.

- The property owner certifies the following in a signed statement: 1) the renovation or repair will occur in his/her residence; 2) no child under the age of six (6) years old and no pregnant woman resides there; 3) the housing is not a child facility; 4) the owner acknowledges that the renovation firm will not be using the otherwise required practices.

Condominium Boards and Association Managers should be aware of the requirements and should request that any hired contractor provide a copy of their EPA training certificate.

1) Know the Risks - Before beginning work, contractors must provide a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet Renovation Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools. Condominium associations who contract for work to be completed should make sure that the pamphlet is distributed to all affected owners and tenants prior to beginning work. The EPA has published a handbook for contractors, property managers, and maintenance personnel. The National Association of Realtors has developed a series of guidance videos aimed at realtors and property managers. (Link to EPA Requirements including videos for property managers.)

2) Verify All Workers are Certified - Any contractor, plumber, electrician, maintenance person, painter, or property manager who will be performing work for compensation at a residence must be certified and must follow specific work practices required by the EPA’s RRP Rule. To become certified, contractors or other persons performing repairs must complete an eight (8) hour training course from a training provider who has been accredited by the EPA. Washington does have a number of companies who are certified by the EPA and by the Washington Department of Commerce to offer training and certification programs to contractors.

More strict regulations and standards apply to residential projects that are funded through HUD and the Section 8 program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has adopted the “Lead Safe Housing Rule” (LSHR). 24 CFT Part 35 Subparts B-M. Safe Work Practices are required where: 1) the exterior surface being disturbed exceeds 20 square feet; or 2) the interior surface being disturbed exceeds 2 square feet in any one room or space. If a certified inspector conducts a lead test and determines lead is not present, the project is exempt.

We are available to help associations determine whether your project is affected and to ensure that contractors you hire meet all the requirements. If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.