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David C Sulock

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Lead-Free vs Lead-Safe Certification

Aug 29, 2023 12:05:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, lead risk assessment


What is the difference between a lead-safe and a lead-free certification?

Lead-safe means you have lead paint and it is well maintained and not deteriorated, flaking, etc. The lead hazard is contained and therefore does not represent an exposure pathway to humans. Lead-free, means you have no lead paint, the property is free of lead paint, and no lead paint hazard exists.

In the United States lead paint was banned in 1978 by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.  Consumers could not buy lead paint after 1978, but commercial sites still could.   The logic is if it was banned in 1978, homes built after 1978 should be lead-free after that date, but that is not always true.   Following the same logic, homes built before 1978 have the potential to contain lead paint. 

Lead paint was moisture resistant, dried fast, and wore like well lead, so lead paint had attributes anyone painting would find desirable.

Lead Free vs Lead Safe Certification   what is the difference between Lead Free vs Lead Safe Certification 

EPA & HUD attempted to manage the risk of lead paint and established standards and protocols for evaluating lead paint, testing lead paint, and what to do when lead paint is found.  They learned that homes have lead paint on everything and even varnishes had lead, so basically pretty much any surface could contain lead.  Testing every surface for lead paint is time-consuming and expensive, so protocols were established that had costs in mind as the target housing for lead paint testing. The target was large multi-family rental buildings, causing the owners to incur substantial costs to evaluate for the lead paint on every surface in every room.  For example, a typical 3-bedroom home could have 300 lead tests performed.

lead free certification

There were also protocols established when lead paint was found and a child living in the home had an elevated lead blood level.  The protocol evaluated the child and what they were exposed to at home, outside, and even where family members worked Remember, as was stated early lead was banned for consumers, not commercial uses.  This assessment of lead risk was established as a Lead Risk Assessment.

What is a Lead Risk Assessment?  

A risk assessment ian on-site investigation to determine the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards, including lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil. The risk assessment provides suggested ways to control them. Risk assessments can be legally performed only by certified risk assessors.

New Jersey has a lead safe law for rental units.

The lead safe law requires a lead risk assessment to be performed to obtain a Lead-Safe certification.  The NJ lead inspection does not require testing of painted surfaces as there is the presumption that lead is present.   In NJ, some towns require dust sampling to see if lead paint is being liberated even if all painted surfaces look in pristine condition.

lead safe dust samplingA lead-safe certification is a one-page form developed by NJ for these inspections. There is no HUD or EPA form used even though they are the entities that established the lead evaluation process and New Jersey law relies upon their protocols for their lead safe law, Confusing right?

There is no universal and clear cut lead-safe certification or requirement to verify that lead is or is not present. The New Jersey laws assume the paint is guilty aka it has lead.

Now everyone values freedom of choice and landlords subject to New Jersey lead-safe law may want testing of painted surfaces to confirm or deny lead is present and if lead is not found to obtain a lead-free certification.  But EPA and HUD have no form or certificate that can be filled out to certify a building as lead-free. 

lead free testing

So what is a lead-free certification?

A lead-free certification is actually a report that is compiled after a Lead Paint Inspection is performed, saying that documents all surfaces were tested for lead and no lead was found.  The report includes all test results and calibration of testing equipment to verify the results are accurate and a floor plan of the building detailing the sampling identification results for each room.  The report is a road map of the dwelling showing where and what was tested and the test results.  The conclusions of the report would be no lead paint was found the dwelling is lead-free.

How do you get a lead-free certification?

You have to complete a lead paint inspection which must be performed by a licensed and certified Lead Paint Inspector.   A Lead-Free inspection begins with a visual inspection and a hand-drawn floor plan of the rooms in the building.   Once you have the interior of the building outlined, you go test all surfaces with an XRF Gun.   This takes hours as you are testing walls, baseboards, window sills, moldings, handrails, doors, inside of closets, stairs, ceiling you name …all fixed painted surfaces.

The lead-free certification process is exhaustive and often times the dwelling fails because even though the owner believes they gutted everything, lead paint is found in an area untouched.  If you want to know where we find lead and properties fail for lead-free, call our office.

Monday to Friday 


When lead paint is found and the lead-free certification is out the window, you pivot and perform a lead risk assessment with the intention of obtaining a Lead-Free certification. 

lead paint environmental consultant


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How can I be more environmentally friendly, Be more green?

Aug 4, 2023 10:30:18 AM / by David C Sulock


How can I be more environmentally friendly, more green?

How can I be more friendly to the environment? We hear this a lot. No one is against being green, as long it is not a big inconvenience. The New Jersey plastic bag ban forced millions of people to stop using plastic bags and to change their habits of bringing reusable bag into the store when they go shopping.  If you don't live in NJ (lucky You), start stocking reusable bags in your car and when you go to the store put your cell phone in a reusable bag 100% you won't leave the car without a reusable bag or phone.

There are other voluntary areas where the average person can help the environment.

Go Brown not Bleached White. White napkins and paper towels go through an extra process to make them white. Choose to buy the brown one. In short order stores will sell out, sales will increase, and manufacturers will make more brown paper products reducing the bleaching process and associated chemicals that get discharged into our waterways.

How to be more environmentally friendly

Cleaning supplies i.e., what are safe cleaning chemicals?  

Your grandmother was right, vinegar is an excellent cleaning compound. Reliable and Scientific Tips for Cleaning With Vinegar | NSF.     People love scents and a cleaner with a fresh scent fools people into thinking that some serious cleaning has occurred. Well, any scent you smell is an assortment of chemicals formulated in the lab that are simply there to fool your senses.   The scent of a cleaner has ZERO effect on the effectiveness of the cleaner.  In short buy scentless cleaners or use vinegar and make your own. I am not going to even go into the fact that a gallon of vinegar would last the average person 2 years, which is a huge saving and yes you will have to buy a reusable spray bottle to mix your own. SUPPLYAID 32 oz. All-Purpose Leak-Proof Plastic Spray Bottles with Adjustable No-Leak, Non-Clogging Nozzle (12-Pack Bundle) BDL-A0027 - The Home Depot

Your health and the environment can go hand in hand. 90% of people disinfect the wrong way.   Surprised that you do not know how to disinfect? You shouldn’t be, because we do not read instructions. If you use bleach, which is a great disinfectant, readily available and inexpensive you likely are using it wrong.   When you spray a surface with bleach (pretty much any disinfectant) and then wipe the surface, you are going it WRONG.  Bleach and pretty much any disinfectant needs a 10-minute set time to disinfect.   Use of disinfectants: alcohol and bleach - Infection Prevention and Control of Epidemic- and Pandemic-Prone Acute Respiratory Infections in Health Care - NCBI Bookshelf (      Bleach is not the only disinfectant that needs time, all disinfectants need time to work. We apply mold fungicides (disinfectants) and they require a set time (on average 10 minutes). So if you are sick or want to properly disinfect a surface you have to apply and wait before you wipe it off, who does that?

Wash cloth in cold not hot water.  

Due to the government driving manufacturers to be more energy efficient, most all detergents are designed to work in cold water. Tide Plus Coldwater Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent | Tide   I constantly find my washer setting set to hot r warm water when it is not needed, but my family doesn’t listen.

hot or cold water to wash cloths

Yard and Lawn watering.   80% of people water improperly. Early morning (4:00 and 8:00 a.m. ) is the best time to water plants, scrubs, and lawns, BECAUSE the cooler temperatures, minimal wind and higher humidity allow the water to soak in rather than evaporate. Evaporation rates can increase exponentially as the day goes on.


Shrubs, water aggressively within the drip line of the shrubs, this forces water deeper, driving roots deeper into COOLE soils, which are more resistant to heat stress since the roots are at a deeper depth and cooler temperature.

 Pulse your watering to prime the soil and prevent runoff. What the heck does that mean? It means a dry sponge is finicky in soaking up water, but a damp sponge is more willing to absorb water.   If you gently water shrubs, the soils will go from dry to damp, allowing more water to be absorbed. But the process takes time so a short watering allows the water to soak into the dry soils. Damp soil more readily accepts water than dry soils, by pulsing your watering you will increase water absorption by 50% when compared to your typical water routine. Case in point ever water a potted plant and water overflows? How about water runoff on a lawn?

Energy production is not green for over 90-% of the energy that we produce, so use energy wisely.   Swap out your non-led lightbulbs with led and save 75%. Meaning an LED bulb uses 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb. Pro Tip, LED bulbs are more expensive and if you are afraid of not recouping the expense, save all your incandescent bulbs in a box. When you move swap them back and take the LEDs t your new house.

Buy bulbs smart and no I do not mean smart bulbs which we view as too expensive today to justify the investment. What we mean is based on light output. Lumens and the Lighting Facts Label | Department of Energy

With LED bulbs think lumens, not watts.

The brightness, or lumen levels, of the lights vary considerably. Here are some rules of thumb to follow:

  • An old 100-watt (W) incandescent bulb, is 1600 lumens, so buy a 1600 lumen LED.
  • 75W bulb = 1100 lumens
  • 60W bulb = 800 lumens
  • 40W bulb = 450 lumens

 How can I be green

Plastic Utensils, just stop buying them   They are single-use, and no one reses them but my brother, yep he washes them and saves them. In lieu of buying plastic knives and forks, buy a set or two of spoons, knives, and forks. Keep them in their own holder and pull them out when you entertain.   You will save the environment and eventually receive payback on your investment.

 In the same vein, when you order takeout, how often do you get prepacked utensils you do not need? How about condiments you do not need?   When you order remember outside of the food let the restaurant know that you don’t need utilis or ketchup packs.










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Selling a House with an Underground Oil Tank in NJ PA & DE

Jul 25, 2023 10:22:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in tank removal, NJ HOTS, NJDEP Unregulated heating Oil Tank program, underground oil tanks, tank abandoned in place, Selling a house, Buying a house, Real Estate, pa tank removal, tank leaks, soil sampling removed tanks, soil testing, Delaware tank removal


When buying a house you inherit the improvements, the land, and the fixtures. An oil tank would be classified as a fixture as it is connected to the house as a fuel source. Generally speaking, an oil tank would be thought of as something typically transferred during the sale.  The tanks in the photo below are newer, about 13 years old, and are in an 80-year-old house, the layperson's opinion would be great new oil tanks, right? Well, the older, wiser bull would ask -  what happened with the prior oil tank?

two ast-1

The answer would be the prior oil tank is in the ground or rather underground, and the in-use underground oil tank was replaced because the water was entering the oil tank the oil tank was not removed because it cost money and the new oil tanks were an unexpected expense. Trust us the buyer is going to want the buried tank removed.



Selling a House with an Underground Oil Tank in NJ PA & DE    Selling a House with an Underground Oil Tank Pennsylvania Delaware New Jersey

To finish the story above, one of the oil tanks did leak, about $14,000 to clean up, so not that bad.

Oil tanks are a great exception when it comes to real estate.   Oil tanks are a known liability, a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC), or an Area of Concern (AOC). Oil tanks age and wear and when the failure occurs,  oil leaks, which causes soil contamination, which under current laws is the responsibility of the owner to repair and remediate.  Now, buyers are known to sue sellers after the sale occurs if they discover the oil tank leaked and buyers believe owners did not disclose this key defect. 

Can you sell a house with an oil tank that is in use or decommissioned or abandoned?  

Sellers can indeed legally sell the home, but in the rare times this does occur there is liability generated for both buyer and seller.   To buy a property with a tank is to assume the liability associated with the tank, which some buyers assume is no liability.

 Selling a House with an Underground Oil Tank in NJ PA & DE

Why would a seller want to sell a property with an oil tank?

First to remove and replace an oil tank, budget $2,000 for removal and $3,000 or more to install a new oil tank. Converting to natural gas, budget $10,000. The first reason to sell with an oil tank is seller saves money and why would a seller want to upgrade a house they are selling? But that isn’t even the real reason sellers sell with an oil tank, it's because the remediation of an oil tank can cost $30,000 or more, or less, but the cost to remediate is more than most people can budget, so it’s an expense people avoid.

 So who has liability when selling a house with an oil tank?

Both buyer and seller have liability. For a seller, when the transfer occurs, no doubt the buyer is not anticipating a $50,000 cleanup and when that occurs, lawsuits occur as the buyer suspects the seller knew about the oil tank and lied. Sellers who sell tanks are viewed as used car salespeople. We have seen every sort of lawsuit from Estates to retired people to young couples selling to buy a larger home, in every scenario the buyer finds contamination that they believe the seller knew about. In most cases the buyer wins and the seller pays.

How does a buyer have liability for buying a property with an oil tank?

Buyer beware, break it you buy it, possession is 9/10th of the law. Whatever the term, if you own the property, you own the problem. Sure, you can sue the seller as in our example above, but if it is say an Estate and the estate dissolves and the money is gone, good luck.

 selling a house with an oil tank NJ DE PA

What if you have an abandoned oil tank and disclose it to the buyer?

Buyers buy homes where the seller discloses they had an oil tank filled in place tank, after they buy the property they realize that an abandoned oil tank doesn’t mean no leaks. The saying goes as long as it was abandoned properly, that oil tank does not present any legal issues. The real question isn’t whether a seller can do it, it’s whether a seller should or to put it in simple terms are you 100% the abandoned oil tank does not represent an issue?

Case in point, property being sold, owners did not disclose an oil tank.  The buyer does an oil tank weep and finds an oil tank.  Sellers dig up information on the oil tank, even though two days earlier they did not know the underground oil tank.   Curren Environmental is requested to review the paperwork.  It included an invoice, a copy of the permit (to fill the oil tank in place), a copy of the oil manifest, a hand-drawn map of the property and a one-page letter which I snipped below. 

Makes No Warranty or Certifications to Soil, Groundwater, or Environmental Conditions.

So did the tank leak?  I don't know, but the company that did the work is not saying it did or didn't. per the statement above. 

The next step is to the oil tank gets removed and tested, because the paperwork is insufficient in today's environment, but to be fair this wasn't sufficient in 2005 either, but the people who owned the house did not want to find a problem so they hired a company who would not test the soils.  Of course, flashforward to today and they are paying again to get the tank decommissioned so they can sell the property.

filled in place report

What do you have that says the oil tank did not leak? 9 times out of 10 it’s the wrong document, like my example above. A thousand other set of documents that is insufficient to certify the oil tank as nonleaking. 

Buyers and sellers need to be on the same page with oil tanks.

Did you look for contamination when the oil tank was abandoned?   Like when a dentist looks for cavities, when you abandon an oil tank there are steps you take to certify the tank did not leak, and also testing, like an x-ray.

selling a house with an oil tank in Pennsylvania, New Jersey Delaware

What if you remove the oil tank instead of filling it in place? Would we find contamination?  

We often find contamination when removing abandoned oil tanks. Yes, you read that right, we find some evidence of contamination, of past soil contamination (maybe a previous tank buried in the same area as an abandoned oil tank, sometimes we find a 2nd oil tank. In all these situations we find contamination that wasn’t picked up before, and now it's reportable to the state, and the owner has to clean it up. How do you know if you have proper documentation certifying a tank did not leak?

Every year we peer review thousands of reports, lab data, and documents about prior environmental work, to see if our clients are covered. Often the data is lacking or there is an issue that people gloss over.  In most all cases, we have to recommend the removal of the tank, which is reverse engineering the prior work.

Is it better to remove or abandon an oil tank?

Removal is always better because the tank is gone, there should be no issue if it leaked because you can see the tank out of the ground and it’s easy to collect soil samples from the ground after the tank is removed.


Selling a House with an Underground Oil Tank in NJ PA & DE

Tanks destroy curb appeal so if selling a house with an oil tank, no one is going to say hey that’s a benefit. The number of buyers is smaller than a property without an oil tank. A house that has an abandoned underground oil tank will stop most buyers in their tracks because the buyer doesn’t want to inherit some problem in the future.

We have had plenty of clients (who eventually hire us to remove the oil tank) selling with a properly abandoned oil tank, properly abandoned in the ground. All permits were obtained, but the deal repeatedly falls apart. Why?  Because the buyer goes into attorney review, and they talk to their attorney and decide they won’t proceed out of attorney review unless the seller agrees to remove and test the oil tank.

Now many developers and house flippers will buy a house with an oil tank, but you hope they disclose the tank to the next buyer, otherwise, lawsuits occur, and the original seller whom the flipper bought the house from gets sued. Why sue?   Because an oil tank is found and the buyer demands removal, then contamination is found and you, as the original seller, obviously knew about the contamination.

Let’s say you even find someone who wants to buy the house with the oil tank, well the mortgage company may have a thing or two to say. Most lenders are hesitant to make a loan on a property that has an abandoned underground oil tank, even if you have permits. Sometimes for certain loans, the oil tank makes the lender pull the load or the lender wants the tank removed to provide a mortgage.

These are some of the reasons why an oil tank should be properly removed and documented.   yo less likely to get sued and more interested buyers translate to a higher purchase price and of course less headaches.

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Does NJ Lead Law require wipe samples for non dust wipe sample towns?

Jul 10, 2023 10:54:36 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead safe, NJ Lead Law, NJ Lead Safe Law



Lead Risk assessors are required to perform dust wipe sampling only in towns that are on the DCA list 2022-23 Lead-Based Paint Inspection Methodology Pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182.  Link below:


2022-23 Lead-Based Paint Inspection Methodology Pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182


Some municipalities that have staff to complete the inspection  want to do both visual and wipe sample., even if the town is visual only.


The law allows municipal inspectors to perform visual and dust wipe even if the municipality is not a dust wipe town.  The law reads as follows:


For dwellings located in a municipality in which less than three percent of children six years of age or younger tested have a blood lead level greater than or equal to five micrograms per deciliter, the inspection may be carried out through visual inspection, as explained in Section 3.3.4, below. However, these municipalities may elect to undertake dust wipe sampling, as explained in Section 3.3.5, below.

3.3.5 (p.15) says:


3.3.5 Dust Wipe Sampling Dust wipe sampling is collected by wiping representative surfaces, including floors (both carpeted and uncarpeted), interior windowsills, and other similar surfaces, and testing in accordance with a method approved by HUD. These samples must be undertaken properly to ensure that results are accurate. N.J.A.C. 5:17 contains requirements for dust wipe sampling. In addition, Appendix 13.1 of the HUD Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing provides the protocol for sample collection. This Appendix is available online at: It is recommended that the lead evaluation contractor or permanent local agency also perform a visual inspection when undertaking a dust wipe sampling.


Many municipalities chose to do wipe sampling in addition to visual because it provides a higher level of confident that there is no health risk at the time of inspection.   Attorneys and insurance carriers might prefer it though, so the inspection is more thorough.  Although dust wipe sampling adds cost when not required and it might pick up lead contamination from some source other than paint.


The NJ Lead Safe law has created a lot of confusion for landlords.  Bottom line it pays for landlords to contract their own lead paint inspection for rental units.


Call the Lead Experts




lead paint expert



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The importance of Home Inspections

Jul 10, 2023 8:52:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Due Diligence, environmental inspections, Home inspection



A home inspection is a home education and when is education a bad thing?

Every “As Is” sale is the hope from the seller that a buyer will accept any and all issues with a property, whether owner known or unknown. I mean unless a house is new, you are buying a “used” house and you must accept some wear and tear to be present.   Not performing a home inspection, and no – your Uncle Charlie and your father-in-law do not count as insured inspectors, you are buying property with your eyes wide shut.

Due diligence can include comparison car shopping, dating before you get married, and yes, a professional home inspection of a dwelling and grounds. Considering a home and a boat are typically the largest expenses you will assume, not inspecting will put you at risk of spending money that could have been negotiated prior to purchase. They also say a boat is a hole in the water you pour money into, same can be said for a used home. Couple that with the fact that building codes change, meaning the codes get stricter and more protective, performing a home inspection by a professional knowledgeable on current regulations is critical. Old codes get updated to address safety issues for example. Can you really tell if a house has radon without a test?   What if every fixture in the dwelling is 25 years only? Expect replacement costs, water heater, HVAC, and washer and dryer, which could be $20,000.00 to $30,000.00.   The cost-benefit of having a home inspection is huge. Negligible cost to professionally inspect saves thousands of dollars in repairs. Think structural or unseen termite damage (Uncle Charlie can’t fit in the crawlspace to inspect).

Home inspections also allow a buyer to back out of a purchase.  If expensive defects are found, the seller would be liable to express to future buyers as there have been case law verdicts against sellers when they decide to not disclose known material defects.   Typical contracts allow an out for structural and environmental both of which can run tens of thousands of dollars.   

The importance of Home Inspections

Although you likely do not want out of any home you have under contract, you also may not want to spend $10,000 to replace the sewer line, which is why inspections allow negotiations to occur. Yes, sewer line scopes are a thing and a huge payback for the minimal cost. We see sewer line replacements at around $10,000, if not more. 

Did you know many people have an Uncle Charlie (or the seller may have an Uncle Bob)? Did you know Uncle Bob and your father-in-law also build things without permits? Illegal additions and improvements not performed to code can cost a buyer real money in the future. We had a site where a tennis court was built and changed the grade of the yard as well as exceeding the maximum allowable impermeable cover for the property.  Finished basements with no permits?   Yep, that is an issue, as inspectors will flag out shoddy work, i.e., work not up to code.

Are home inspections important?

Skip a home inspection and your insurance carrier and mortgage company may balk, because they want to protect their interests. Electrical work not up to code can cause fire and large insurance claims, so when deciding an inspection is not needed for yourself ensure no one else involved in the transaction needs due diligence completed.

Let’s put it in perspective, do no due diligence - you find nothing. Do a sewer line scope maybe you find a break in the mission-critical sewer line. Test for and find radon, and save yourself from getting lung cancer.   Faulty wiring, well maybe the house won’t burn down.

Aside from being an environmental consultant that reviews thousands of environmental reports a year, I also find home inspection and property condition inspection reports across my computer screen.   The list of items you find when you read one of these reports is staggering. Even new homes can have a laundry list of items requiring repair. Of course, new homes get 100% of items addressed, but the point is even new construction can have mistakes and flaws that a professional inspector can find.

Full disclosure, Curren Environmental only does environmental inspections, not home inspections and when we get asked if a home inspection is valuable, Curren says they are invaluable.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of a home inspection?


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New Jersey Lead Safe Law

May 16, 2023 9:45:00 AM / by David C Sulock



The New Jersey Lead Safe law went into effect on July 22, 2022, and affects ALL pre-1978 rental properties.    The law is being called the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Law and affects all single-family, two-family, and multiple-rental dwellings.


Did you know that 30% of properties are failing the lead inspections because the owner is not aware of what the lead inspection entails? The Lead Risk Assessment accounts for 100% of properties and is a visual inspection for lead paint in the dwelling interior, which includes common areas, basements, and foyers.


The Lead Safe Inspection is looking for paint that is not in good condition, and that the paint is not on an impact or friction surface, such as a window.   Because most all rentals never had to go through a lead paint inspection, properties fail.


What fails a lead-safe inspection is deteriorating lead-based paint?

  • peeling
  • chipping
  • chalking
  • cracking
  • damaged paint


At Curren, we have "The Talk" with every landlord, realtor, and property manager about where we look and what are common lead paint fail areas.  If the lead inspection fails as per the law, Curren lets our clients know. If lead-based paint hazards are identified, then the owner of the dwelling shall remediate the hazards through abatement or lead-based paint hazard control mechanisms.  If one of our lead inspectors finds deteriorated paint, the owner must repair the damage, and a reinspection must occur.  So wouldn't it be smart that if the paint needs to be fixed you should fix it before we inspect?


What to do to get ready for compliance?  Call Curren Environmental, we have been consulting on environmental issues in real estate since the 1990s.  888-301-1050


Example: See the radiator below, it failed the inspection, although we spent 40 minutes discussing the inspection process with the owner and the realtor.


New Jersey Lead Safe Law

This property failed as well.  We actually saw paint chips on the floor.


NJ lead safe paint inspection

Painted surfaces that rub, can damage the paint and release lead dust, which is a failure.  In the photo below you can imagine the door rubs, to the extent paint is chipping off.


lead paint hazard


As per The NJ Lead Law:  Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can reside on surfaces and objects that people touch.


What does the lead law mean to property owners?

Your rental unit must be clean and all paint intact and conditions present that will not cause the paint to become damaged.  As the photo above shows, doors that rub would be a fail.The law also means you as a landlord must be diligent in maintaining your rental units, even more so than in the past.   Yes it is a pain and you may consider it nitpicky, but that is the law in NJ.  We had many property owners sell before the law went into effect.

What are the requirements of municipalities under P.L. 2021, c. 182?

The law imposes an obligation on municipalities to perform or hire a certified lead evaluation contractor to perform inspections of certain single-family, two-family, and multiple-rental dwellings for lead-based paint hazards every three years or upon tenant turnover where there is no valid lead-safe certification. Municipalities must permit dwelling owners/landlords to directly hire a certified lead evaluation contractor for this purpose.

Pro Tip

The law also allows the owner to hire their own professional.


 Pro Tip

If you offer laundry and it's in the basement and you have walls or built-in cabinets, a permanent fixture,  like the one in the photo below, you would fail the inspection.

New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification


When do you have to comply with the NJ Lead Safe Law?


This new lead law is being referred to as, New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification and requires lead-paint inspections, and visual and/or dust wipes on all nonexempt rental properties at tenant turnover or before July 22, 2024This means 1st inspection must be completed by July 22, 2024.   The inspections are perpetual. A lead-safe certificate is good for two (2) years but can last as long as three (3) years before a reinspection is needed if the tenant remains in the unit from the 1st 2 years of issuance of the lead-safe certificate.


What are the documentation requirement of landlords?


As per the law, the documentation and notification requirements are the responsibility of the landlord.  As an owner/landlord you must:


Maintain and provide copies of all Lead Safe Certifications (per unit) and leases to the DCA inspector during their five (5) year multiple dwelling inspection. 


The lead-safe certification or a reference to the certification is supposed to be attached to the tenant's lease.    We think it is safest to provide a copy of the cert to the lease and if the lease is already executed provide another copy with the lead safe certification attached, it's cleaner and safer.


Curren Environmental has been environmental consulting since the 1990s, if you have questions feel free to contact one of our professionals:



What to do to get ready for compliance?  Call Curren Environmental, we have been consulting on environmental issues in real estate since the 1990s.




Do you think your property is exempt from lead inspections? The property must meet the following criteria: 

  1. The property has been certified to be free of lead-based paint,
  2. The property was originally constructed during or after 1978,
  3. The rental unit is in a multiple dwelling that has been registered with the DCA as a multiple dwelling for at least 10 years either under the current or a previous owner and has no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection performed on the multiple dwelling under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,”
  4. Is a single-family or two-family seasonal rental dwelling that is rented for less than 6 months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals; VRBO rentals fit this definition as long as the lease is shorter than 6 months per rental.
  5. Dwellings that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint under N.J.A.C. 5:17-3.6(b).
  6. The unit is owner-occupied.
  7. Call or office  888-301-1050

lead inspection company 

Pro Tip

If you have not tested for lead-based paint and the property is pre-1978 original construction, the law states you must assume it is lead-based paint.

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What Rental Properties are Subject to NJ Lead Safe Law?

Apr 11, 2023 10:50:00 AM / by David C Sulock


Regulations P.L. 2021, c. 182 aka N.J.A.C. 5:28A   aka New Jersey Lead Safe Law,  which requires lead inspection for rental properties built before 1978.

So what rental units are required to be inspected and what dwellings are exempt? 

Lead-based paint was federally banned in 1978.  Almost all single-family, two-family, and multiple-rental dwellings built before 1978 must be inspected.   

Yes that is very encompassing, there are some exemptions which include:

  • Rental units were built after 1978. 
  • Short-term rental, like VRBO.  Think rentals shorter than 6 months.
  • Buildings already certified as Lead-Free.   Pro Tip, you may think your rental unit is lead-free because you rehabbed the entire place, but did you?  Did you replace vanished wood (which has lead), stairs, trim, all walls, including closets, and all doors?  
  • Owner-occupied unit.  You own a duplex, you lie in one unit, and no lead inspection is required.  You rent the other unit, and that unit needs to be inspected. 
  • Multiple rental dwellings that have been registered with the Department of Community Affairs for at least ten years and have no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection performed on the multiple dwelling under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law” (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1).   Ok, agree, if you don't know what that means, your rental unit is likely, not exempt.

What Properties are Subject to NJ Lead Safe Law?

New Jersey wants tenants protected from the hazards of lead paint which are well known, represent serious health concerns, and prior to this law was largely not addressed.  Even when you purchase a home to live in, the lead disclosure and evaluation process is an afterthought if performed at all.  We can say from experience 99% of home buyers ignore lead as an issue.  




That said if you own a rental property as detailed above you are subject to the law and must have a lead paint risk assessment completed by July 2024.  Every inspection includes a visual inspection of painted interior surfaces for deteriorated paint (deteriorated paint when found will fail the inspection and will require the owner to address and reinspect.). Certain towns also must have dust wipe sampling performed due to elevated blood lead levels in children in these towns. 

28573.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.nethubfs28573buyer bewareNJ landlord lead paint regulations

This law did not come out of the blue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has had a similar law on the books for years as have other states.  New Jersey is playing catchup.   If you are a landlord and maintain your rentals, this will just be another cost of business, but it will also educate you about current and future lead management in your properties.  Be aware the tenant gets a copy of the lead safe certification which is the desired goal of every inspection.  This in essence is informing the tenant that lead paint is present (it is presumed under the law) and places some responsibility on them to inform the landlord of damage when it occurs. The law knows that homeowners take pride in ownership and are more likely to maintain a home, tenants not so much, and landlords can be a crapshoot.

Want Expert advice, with over 25 years of experience let Curren be your resource.

Monday to Friday  888-301-1050


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Selling a Home: What Are My Disclosure Obligations?

Mar 15, 2023 11:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Due Diligence, home disclosure


In New Jersey or Pennsylvania there is a disclosure list a seller should complete.  Any disclosure is a representation of known facts and are meant to make knowledge about a property available to buyers.  In  New Jersey's there are statutes, the state's courts have carved out rules (under "common law") that are meant to protect buyers against sellers who fail to disclose material facts or who hide information about their property.

The New Jersey Supreme Court, addressed a home sale where the seller failed to mention a cockroach infestation, the courts ruled this oversight as  "silence may be fraudulent." (See Weintraub v. Krobatsch, 64 N.J. 445 (1974).)  So there are court cases where an as is sale and non disclosure spelled bad news for the seller post sale.


NJ PA real estate disclosure

It is in your best interest to complete the Sellers Disclosure statement even if it is not required by law.  You must consider that if you were buying a property and no disclosure was completed by the buyer you would question what they may be hiding.  Conversely when you fill out the disclosure, know that it can be considered a legal document.   Withholding facts can create problems later on.   In a perfect world,  sellers would be 100% encompassing on disclosing both the good and bad about a property.

Selling a New Jersey Home: What Are My Disclosure Obligations?

Did you know that if you have your property under contract and the deal falls apart because the buyer found an unknown defect, well that defect is now required to be put on a new disclosure statement.   There is a paper trail that can lead someone who looks for these facts, so honesty is the best policy.


New Jersey has passed laws adding to the disclosure requirements of sellers.  In recent years disclosing awareness of mold water damage and lead in plumbing.   Pertaining to mold or water damage:

Yes    No         
[ ]      [ ]               9)        Are you aware of any water leakage, accumulation or 
                                       dampness within the basement or crawl spaces or any 
                                       other areas within any of the structures on the property? 

[ ]      [ ]               9a)      Are you aware of the presence of any mold or similar 
                                         natural substance within the basement or crawl spaces 
                                         or any other areas within any of the structures on the 

Regarding Lead

Bill S-829  signed 11/08/2021 requires property condition disclosure statements to include a question concerning the presence of lead plumbing in residential properties.  For lead this means if the owner had water testing performed for lead it must be disclosed.  


Environmental Disclosure in Residential Real Estate


Informed buyers and sellers should know that asbestos and lead paint were green building products and were banned in the 1970s, so older homes likely have these compounds in the home and the owner likely has never tested for them, they are simple assumed to be present. unless you do a lead paint inspection:   Lead Paint Inspections

lead paint inspections


The same time frame of pre say 1980's home, oi heat was likely used in the past and the property.  These tanks rust and leak oil costing homeowners Tens of thousands of dollars in environmental cleanup.  Buyers performing due diligence will complete a tank sweep to prevent buying a contaminated property.   Oil Tank Sweep FAQ

Being fair to sellers, many bought a home on natural gas and never did a tank sweep so they may not honestly know if a tank is or was present

Questions?  Free Consultation



Real Estate Disclosure in an "As Is" sale.

Many sellers want to sell a house "as is." This means that the seller does not intend on making any repairs as part of the sale process.   Generally speaking, "as is" houses are priced lower than market value.

Real estate contracts can have a "as is" clause because the buyer is entitled to inspect and cancel, if warranted, this "as is" clause is often misunderstood by sellers to mean that if the buyer wants the property he has to take it "as is," without any chance to cancel the contract or request repairs from the seller.

The "as is" clause more accurately is a situation where the seller  has no intention of making repairs to the property or even into entering negotiations about repairs. The "as is" clause is accompanied by an inspection clause that permits the buyer to cancel the contract should the buyer's inspections reveal major defects that the buyer is not willing accept the property with.


Major issues could be septic, contamination from an oil tank, mold or structural.  Typically, a dollar amount is put in the contract that will allow the buyer to back out if the cost is above a certain threshold.


Environmental issues in an As Is sale, such as a tank leak tend to bend the seller to address the problem.  The reason an environmental issue can tip the scales in an "As Is" sale is because the cost for cleanup of say $40,000, dings the value of the property and can prevent a mortgage or insurance carrier to get involved.     In theory and as is sale is a wish that s not always granted to sellers.

oil tanks and as is sale

You can never toss out ethics and even in an as is sale if a seller intentionally misrepresents, fraudulently conceal, or even negligently conceal something unrelated to the failure of inspection, even the "as is" clause might not protect the seller under common law fraud or misrepresentation case. Case in point hiding a underground oil tank on the property could be unwise.    We find many oil tanks on as is sales, even on these sales when the home was flipped, and the flipper was the as is buyer.  Oil Tank Sweeps


Real Estate Disclosure has progressed over the years and many sellers wanting a fast a sale as possible will have their own home inspection performed prior to listing the home for sale.    This allows the seller to contemplate what issues are present and get estimates to undertake these repairs and disclosing what they did and did not do.    These proactive sellers realize they are selling a used home so wear and tear is expected.   In our experience when we deal with buyers who have had sellers do a pre-sale inspection and repair both sides appear to be more at ease, simple due to the fact that both parties want as much transparency as possible.



*Legal representation in any transaction is always prudent no matter if you are selling or buying.



Environmental disclosure in real estate




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Black Mold

Mar 14, 2023 1:14:00 PM / by David C Sulock


Why are black mold and unicorns similar? 

Both black mold and unicorns are mythical and do not exist in the real world.  Wait we are saying something that goes against what most people think they know.   There is no mold called black mold.

what is black mold

Case in point, there are ZERO molds named after colors and in fact, most molds have names that are difficult to pronounce.   The list below compromises a wide variety of molds and you will note that black mold did not make the list.  This mold list also demonstrates how easy it would be to mispronounce a mold by name.  In fairness, it would be much easier if molds were named after colors.

Acremonium, Alternaria, Amerospores, Amphobotrys, Annellophora/Taeniolella rudis, Aphanocladium, Arthrinium, Arthrobotrys, Arthrospore formers, Ascospores, Ascotricha, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Bactrodesmium, Basidiospores, Beauveria, Beltrania, Bipolaris, Blastobotrys, Botryodiplodia theobromae, Botryomyces, Botrytis, Calcarisporium, Cephaloascus, Ceratocystis/Ophiostoma group, Cercospora, Chaetomium, Choanephora, Chromelosporium, Chrysonilia, Chrysosporium, Circinella, Cladosporium, Coelomycetes, Cunninghamella, Curvularia, Dactylaria, Dicyma,  Doratomyces, Drechslera, Bipolaris, and Exserohilum group, Emericella, Emericellopsis, Engyodontium, Epicoccum, Erysiphe, Oidium, Eurotium, Exserohilum, Fusariella, Fusarium, Geomyces, Geotrichum, Gliocladium, Gliomastix, Gonatobotrys, Gonatobotryum, Graphium, Helminthosporium, Hyalodendron, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Leptosphaeria, Memnoniella, Microascus, Microstroma, Monilia, Mortierella, Mucor, Mycotypha, Myrothecium, Myxomycetes, Neosartorya, Nigrospora, Nodulisporium, Non-Sporulating, Ochroconis, Oedocephalum, Oidiodendron, Oidium, Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Periconia, Peronospora,Peziza , Phialocephala, Phialophora, Phoma Pithomyces, Polythrincium, Poria incrassata, Pycnidial formers, Pyrenochaeta, Rhinocladiella, Rhizopus, Rusts, Sartorya, Scedosporium, Schizophyllum commune, Scolecobasidium, Scopulariopsis, Sepedonium, Septonema, Serpula lacrimans, Smuts, Sordaria, Spadicoides, Spegazzinia, Spiniger state of Heterobasidion species, Sporobolomyces sp., Sporormiella, Sporothrix, Sporotrichum, Stachybotrys, Stemphylium, Stephanosporium, Syncephalastrum racemosum, Taeniolella, Tetraploa, Thysanophora, Torula, Trichocladium, Trichoderma, Trichosporon, Trichothecium, Ulocladium, Ustilago, Verticillium, Wallemia sebi, Zygomycetes, Zygosporium.


Where did black mold come from?  Black mold is usually connected to several residential sites in the 1990s where long-term water issues in these homes created mold growth that was not detected by the home's occupants.  The occupants got sick but did not know why.  Consistent water issues is key in these cases as all mold is a byproduct of water and moisture, albite typically intermittent water fueled the mold growth.  Constant water allows certain molds to grow, think a wet sticky spore that is highly likely to affect human health.  The owners of these homes eventually found mold, and had issues trying to get insurance companies to pay for mold, and the news media got involved.  In all these cases the color of mold that most stood out was black and the media grabbed onto this, and thus BLACK MOLD was born, so was the phrase Mold is Gold.

Want Expert Mold Advice


Now there is another source of the term black mold, which is the mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, which uniformed people refer to as the black mold, I say uninformed as this mold is actually blackish green in color.  But let's be fair if someone says you have GREEN Mold you think moss or growth outside home spots or blemishes?   So green mold is not as scary as when someone says you have black mold.  Heck if you have black mold run, get it cleaned up. Black mold is really a sales tactic to scare people.  By the way, Stachybotrys chartarum was a type of mold found in the previously referenced 1990s homes that made the news.    So black mold was grabbed by the media, not a scientist, microbiologist, government agency, or other respected unbiased source but rather the media and used by the media to sensationalize a topic.

Don't buy the black mold hype.

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Why environmental testing is Important?   aka do I need a Phase II?

Mar 13, 2023 10:18:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Phase I, AAI All Appropriate Inquiries, Due Diligence, Phase II, Phase I ESA, Phase II GPR, 1031 Exchange, ASTM E1527-21


Go to your doctor and no matter how healthy you look, they take tests. Go to the dentist, and you get x-rays.  Regarding environmental issues again you need to test to verify nothing is present.  If you do not test you have a 100% chance of not finding anything.

Environmental Due Diligence is meant to protect a purchaser, commercial due diligence starts with a Phase I and can lead to a Phase II (testing), which while buyers are aware a Phase II is a possibility, it can also find a problem, so why do a Phase II if finding something is not 100% certain?

The map below which is from the 1940's shows an auto sales storefront in a downtown area.  It lists a 550 Gallon Gasoline UST in front of the building.  Today there are retail stores with a coffee lunch spot.  Really zero current evidence of anything automotive or gas tank related.    So, say you want to buy the property.  Do you assume the gas tank is not there anymore?  No, you scan the area by completing a GPR Survey to make sure it's gone and if it's still there you have owner remove the tank.  

Phase II ESA


How about below, a then and now photo?   Are the tanks still there?  Do you think if the gas tanks leaked, and you owned the property you would be responsible?

Phase II Testing

What if you find that the tank is gone, well you now take soil samples to make sure there is no residual contamination.   And yes if contamination is found, the property owner owns the problem.

Phase II Subsurface soil samplingWhy environmental testing is Important?

People suspect a building component contains asbestos based on appearance and age of building, but you do not know 100% unless you test.  When you are doing a risk assessment or any other form of environmental due diligence, you would assume the component contains asbestos until proven otherwise.  The same goes for PCB's in an electrical transformer.  Assume it contains PCBs until it is labeled otherwise.   So, while a property owner wants to believe these is no contamination, a buyer can't rely on that belief.  Hence the need for a Phase I and sometimes a Phase II which includes testing.Phase II is testing


A case in point an older manufacturing plant (40 years) had a large outdoor compressor.   The compressor at time of sale was only 5 years old, nice and new.   But as an environmental consultant we ask what about the old compressor.  The issue with compressors is they can spit oil and older compressors were known for this.  A REC in the Phase I would be to do a Phase II with soil testing around the 4 sides of the new compressor to look for residual oil from the old compressor.    Yep that is how it works.


We had a group looking to buy a large corner property that had commercial operations in  1930's that could contaminate the property.  The buyers were excited to buy the property.  From decades of experience, we recommended testing prior to purchase.  Their response is below

Thank you for submitting a proposal for our project. As you may know, your company is one of only a few that recommend taking soil samples for analysis.   Obviously, once the analysis is completed, the results would need to be disclosed. Shouldn’t a property owner be concerned that these soil samples might uncover a problem that would need to be addressed further?

Our answer is yes if you find contamination it is reportable and the responsibility of the current owner to pay for.   So there are reasons why a property owner may not want to have a buyer do testing.


If you are buying or selling real estate you need an experienced environmental consultant 0n your side, call the experts


Questions?  Call the experts 888-301-1050


Why environmental testing is Important?




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