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Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards

May 8, 2024 9:19:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, lead paint, Lead paint inspections, Lead wipe sample


Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards

Many homes and condominiums built before 1978 have lead-based paint. Paint that has chipped or is deteriorating, or on surfaces that rub together such as windows and doors, creates lead dust which can pose serious health hazards to occupants and visitors. Homebuyers and renters have important rights to know about whether lead is present -- before signing contracts or leases.

Home buyers

Federal law requires that when purchasing homes built prior to 1978 be informed of potential lead hazards.  This disclose occurs BEFORE a contract of sale is executed.   Sellers are technically required to provide the following:  (Yes realtors do  a lot when selling  a home)


caveat emptor    Dutch boy paint-Apr-23-2024-06-53-37-5147-PM

Provide a copy of the EPA or an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).

Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.  This could be a lead safe cert from an applicable NJ Lead Safe Law property, a copy of any lead risk assessments, or lead-based paint inspections.

You can provide records and reports concerning common areas and other units for multi-unit buildings when information is obtained due to a building-wide evaluation.

Having a Lead Warning statement in the contract of sale and confirms that the seller has complied with all lead notification requirements.

Allow Buyer 10 days to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.   This time frame can be lengthened or shortened if the buyer and seller agree to do so.   Homebuyers can also waive this inspection.

If you have a concern about lead-based paint, stain or varnish you should hire a licensed lead consultant to perform an evaluation and to discuss the hazards of lead.

Lead Expert


Lead can be found on the periodic table and is a naturally occurring element. Lead was used historically because it had properties that were attractive.  It is moisture-resistant, malleable, easy to work with and rust-resistant.  Lead was used in many products including gasoline, paints (indoor and outdoor), varnishes, piping & pottery. Lead exposure in children can cause nervous system, and kidney damage, as well as learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence. It can also cause behavior, speech, and language problems, hearing damage, decreased muscle and bone growth, and poor muscle coordination.


Lead-Based Paint means paint or other surface coating material that contains lead in excess of 1.0 milligrams per centimeter squared or in excess of 0.5% by weight, or such other level as may be established by federal law. The NJ Lead Law assumes lead paint is present. All lead paint inspections include a visual assessment for evaluation of deteriorated paint. The HUD regulation defines deteriorated paint as: "Any interior or exterior paint or other coating that is peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking, or any paint or coating located on an interior or exterior surface or fixture that is otherwise damaged or separated from the substrate."




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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 posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, Lead wipe sample, Lead Paint Inspection, Lead Free Certification, Lead Free Cert


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


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How long does New Jersey Lead Safe Certification Last?

Nov 8, 2023 10:57:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead Law, Lead wipe sample, NJ Lead Safe cert


A New Jersey Lead Safe Certificate is good for 2 years but can last 3 years.

When a certificate expires, you have to have another inspection, either after two (2) years or between two (2)  2 years and three years.   The New Jersey Lead safe certification is never-ending and your obligations are perpetual. The law is also very confusing, so let's clear up the biggest question people have which is how long does the lead safe certificate last?

NJ lead safe certificate-1

That answer is confusing as is the NJ Lead Law, so let me clarify.

A lead safe certification lasts two years.

But if you have a tenant that occupies a rental unit that has a valid (unexpired) lead safe certificate and that tenant remains a tenant past the 2-year certificate expiration, then the cert can be valid for 3 years (from date of issuance) or shorter if the tenant only stays say 6 months past the 2-year period.

Lead Safe Certification Duration Example

Let's say you have a tenant that signs a 5-year lease.

You get a lead safe cert that’s good for 2 years.

The lead safe certificate will last 3 years because a tenant has occupied the unit during the initial 2 years and the law has a belief that the tenant knowing the property is lead safe would notify the landlord if it became unsafe. This carnal knowledge so to speak allows the cert to last 3 years.

Now at the 3-year mark, you must get a reinspection, even if the tenant is staying. The longest anyone can go without another lead inspection is 3 years.

Following this example, when this dream tenant who has signed a 5-year lease leaves at year 5, you must get another inspection.

Lead Questions? Call The Lead Experts,


NJ lead inspections




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What Happens if a Lead Dust Wipe Sample Fails?

Oct 10, 2023 1:35:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in lead paint, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead Safe Law, Lead wipe sample, lead paint wipe sample

1 Comment

HUD's New Final Rule, 24 CFR 35, dictates that lead dust should be below the following standards:

Less than 10 µg/ft2 (micrograms of lead per square foot) on floors, 100 µg/ft2 on windowsills. 

100 µg/ft2 on window troughs

  lead dust wipe sample

When a lead wipe sample fails, it indicates that lead dust is present on the surface sampled.

The lead risk assessor should be able to point to the causes of the wipe failure so appropriate corrective action can be implemented.  To be practical, you are not wipe sampling when deteriorated paint is present.  So, when a wipe sample fails you must look to see how many failed.  Is it systemic through the property or in an isolated area?  So if you have four (4) floor samples and one fails, it needs to be evaluated as to why only one failed. 


lead paint wipe sample

The amount of lead that meets clearance criteria is a very minimal quantity and is often not visually seen with the naked eye. In recent years the lead dust limit for floors was four (4) times higher than its current standard. This could lead to failures if surfaces were not properly cleaned, even when deteriorated paint is not present.   All wipe sampling represents a snapshot in time regarding lead on a given surface. Once failure has occurred the area must be cleaned or recleaned until post-cleaning wipe samples meet criteria. A successful method of cleaning involves sequential cycles of HEPA vacuuming and wet wiping surfaces. Wet wiping can be performed with cleaning compounds specific to lead.  Lead dust is chemically sticky, so utilizing a  cleanser to break the chemical bond is critical.

You may find the lead dust is from deteriorated paint, which would require abatement or interim controls.  Interim controls are a set of measures designed to reduce temporary human exposure or likely exposure to lead-based paint hazards, including specialized cleaning, repairs, maintenance, painting, temporary containment, and ongoing monitoring of lead-based paint hazards or potential hazards. You can think of interim controls as dust removal, paint stabilization, and/or control of friction/abrasion points on building materials that are in good condition and repairable.     Seriously deteriorated surfaces that cannot be “repaired” will require replacement/abatement. 

 When the order is for interim controls, the following criteria shall apply:

1. The person performing the interim controls shall: Complete training in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazard Communication requirements at 29 CFR 1910.1200 (see (a)1i and ii above, have successful completion of training as a certified renovator for New Jersey through the Department of Community Affairs;

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies Renovation, Repair, and Painting contractors. These firms are certified to perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that address lead-based paint in homes and childcare facilities. This work is often involved in interim control methods. Information may be found online at: .

2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule beginning April 22, 2010, firms performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities, and kindergartens built before 1978 must be EPA- or state-certified and must use certified renovators who follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

After interim control and or cleaning is performed, the space to be sampled should be kept closed to human entry prior to performing post-wipe sampling. This ensures accurate wipe sample results that are free of outside sources of lead.

If lead wipe samples fail as part of a Risk Assessment in New Jersey under the NJ Lead Safe Law, landlords have 30 days to address the problem so reinspection and sampling can be performed.

If the unit is occupied where a wipe sample failed, the lead risk assessor or the certified evaluator thought there was a serious problem, the evaluator or the local health department could do a complete lead hazard investigation and make a decision on occupancy.   

Call the Lead Experts



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