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How Does the NJ Lead Safe Law affect Real Estate Transactions?

May 8, 2024 9:11:00 AM / by David C Sulock

New Jersey passed legislation requiring lead inspection of rental properties by June of 2024. Before this,  residential properties had only the Federal Title X to deal with, which allowed a buyer to test for lead in building competent before purchase but did not require the owner to do anything if lead was found.  Owners also have to disclose what they know about lead, which for most properties was nothing because they never did any lead inspections.    This new legislation levels the playing field by supplying owners with lead-based data. 


lead paint usage by yearsAny property subject to the NJ Lead Safe Law is now providing property owners inspection reports on lead.  New Jersey lead licensing requires licensed firms to document certain facts regarding inspections nad reports.  In addition, the lead inspections have included dust wipe sampling which tests for lead, these data points are now to be disclosed to future renters and buyers. 

Let me go a step further, the law allows you to obtain a Lead Safe or Lead-Free certificate for target rental units built before 1978.    Lead safe is a never-ending loop of inspections for these properties, every 2 to 3 years.  All inspections carry a cost and the cost is greater if renovation or lead remediation is required post-inspection.  You can imagine a pre-1978 rental property that holds a Lead Free designation is more valuable as it will exempt the property from future inspections.  This golden ticket so to speak is being reached for by landlords in the form of XRF Lead Paint Inspections, which are a surface by surface testing of interior building materials.  A rental property that is two-bedroom could have 200 different tests for lead.    Statistically speaking, the age of the dwelling and painting history are huge factors in your odds of finding lead.  And yes, we are seeing lead in properties where the landlord has professed to the building being totally gutted, completely renovated, we replaced everything. Yet lead we find and a report we must supply, which the landlord must now disclose to all future renters and buyers:

Federal law requires that before signing a lease for target housing, including most buildings built before 1978, renters must receive the following from your landlord:

  • An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards, Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).
  • Any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
    • For multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation.
  • An attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, that includes a "Lead Warning Statement" and confirms that the landlord has complied with all notification requirements.

To make it simple the bolded red statement means before the NJ Lead Safe law landlords knew little about lead other than suspecting lead was present.  Well now the landlord has data points, reports, inspections data, lead wipe sampling and for those striving for LEAD FREE a map of the lead, which must be DISCLOSED.   Sometimes data sets show that lead based hazards were found, or testing found lead dust exceeding applicable standards, which can constitute a lead-based hazard.  

Lead disclosure in Real Estate

What you may not realize are the standards for lead dust wipe samples are very low and have only gotten lower and there is a goal that the standard should be at ZERO, for zero tolerance of residual lead.

The lead safe law is going to buildup data points these landlords/owners must disclose to renters and buyers under federal regulations. This is heavily slanted for those properties wanting to achieve a Lead-Free designation as they will undergo an XRF inspection and the lead will be mapped out in the report, which the owner must share.  More often than not when you do a Lead Paint Inspection, which tests all surfaces for Lead, you realize just how popular lead is in paint, stains, and varnishes.    This is stated because we have inspected many "Totally Gutted", and "Completely Renovated" buildings only to find lead is still present on painted and stained surfaces.


If you have to navigate a lead issue, landlord, buyer or seller, call the experts.


Lead Experts, Since 1998



Lead Consultant


Topics: Lead, Lead paint inspections, Lead wipe sample, Lead Paint Inspection, Lead Free Certification, Lead Free Cert

David C Sulock

Written by David C Sulock

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