By Erin Eberlin. Landlords & Property Investments Expert
As a native New Yorker, Erin was drawn to the high-risk, high-reward field of real estate investing. During her time with Hybrid Properties LLC, she has played a vital role in the company’s real estate development, investment and property management business. Erin has written numerous articles on short selling property, advised on the development of landlord tenant documents and is the creator of a streamlined tenant management system.
A federal law went into effect on April 22, 2010 that requires anyone who disturbs more than six square feet of lead-based paint. replaces windows or does any other type of demolition on buildings built before 1978 to become Lead-Safe Certified and to be trained in lead safe work practices.
What Is Lead-Safe Certification?
Lead-safe certification is an eight hour course that individuals can attend to learn the proper ways to renovate, repair and remodel pre-1978 housing which may contain lead-based paint.
The course teaches the proper ways to:
- Contain dust inside the work area.
- Minimize the amount of dust created.
- Properly clean up after the work has been completed.
- Keep people out of the work/hazard area.
Why Do You Have to Be Lead-Safe Certified?
Lead is believed to be the cause of a variety of ailments in both children and adults. Lead can cause everything from learning disabilities and headaches to more serious symptoms such as seizures and even death.
For many years, lead paint chips were thought to be the biggest lead hazard.
Now, lead dust is believed to be the biggest hazard. Lead dust is a hazard because it is so easily created and can so easily get into the lungs of both children and adults.
While everyday activities can create lead dust, renovation activities are thought to be much more dangerous as they can create hazardous levels of lead dust. The work area therefore needs to be properly contained to prevent these hazards from affecting any individuals.
Who Needs to Be Lead Certified?
Anyone who is doing renovation work or demolition on a building that was built before 1978 that is used as a rental or that is
used to house children needs to be lead-safe certified.
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Those that need to be certified can include:
- Property Managers
- Any firm that employs individuals that do work on pre-1978 housing including contractors, electrical, renovation, construction, etc. must also be certified by the EPA.
What Is Your Responsibility as a Landlord or Property Manager?
As a landlord or property manager who is in charge of housing built before 1978, it is your responsibility to become lead-safe certified if you perform work on the building yourself. If you employ others to do renovation work on your building, you must make sure they are lead-safe certified as well. You can go to the EPA’s website to find lead-safe certified firms in your area.
How Do You Become Lead-Safe Certified
An individual who wishes to become lead-safe certified must attend a day long course about Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules. This course is offered by private trainers who have been accredited by the EPA. The cost of this training will vary as it is set by the individual training provider. You can visit the EPA’s website for a list of EPA accredited training courses .
The course is eight hours long, two of which being actual hands on training. After completing the course, you will be issued a lead-safe certified certificate showing that you have participated in the EPA’s training program. The certification is valid for five years.
Not only do individual contractors or plumbers need to attend the course to become lead-safe certified, the renovation firms that employ such individuals must also be registered with the EPA. A firm can achieve this certification by submitting a two page application to the EPA and paying a $300 fee.
What Happens if Someone Who Is Not Lead-Safe Certified Does the Work?
You could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines if you or someone you hire performs this work and does not have the proper lead-safe certification. You could also be hit with a very expensive lawsuit if someone claims symptoms caused by exposure to lead-based paint because of improper renovation procedures.