Lead Free or Lead Safe, that is the question.
As of July 2022, Lead paint in long term rental properties (6 months or longer) which were built before 1978 are subject to a new law which is being referred as, New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification.
The basis of the law is applicable properties (read long term rentals built before 1978) will be required to have lead paint risk assessments performed.
100% of the rental properties require this visual lead risk assessment. The visual assessment is just that, a licensed New Jersey Department of Health Lead Paint Inspector/Risk Assessor visually inspecting indoor components deteriorated paint. Deteriorated paint is just as it sounds, paint that is chipping, peeling, flaking, you know deteriorated. The photo below has deteriorated paint
So every property gets a visual assessment, but in certain towns, where children have been found to have an elevated lead blood levels, you must also do lead dust wipe sampling. The following lists municipalities in Gloucester County, some of the towns such as Paulsboro, Swedesboro, & Woodbury City require dust wipe sampling.
Lead dust wipe sampling is sampling windowsills and floors (by doors) for lead. You Sample and send the sample to the lab for analysis.
The NJ law assumes you have lead paint present, you would not know 1005 if the property is lead free unless you complete a Lead Paint inspection with XRF testing, you can learn more about lead free certification here. Lead Free Certification
What does this Lead Safe Certification law require of a property owner?
If you rent a pre-1978 property (Lead paint was banned in 1978) that does not qualify for one of the exemptions, beginning July 2022, you are required to have an inspection performed. The timing of the inspection is as follows:
At tenant turnover or
within 2 years of the law (July 2022)
After the initial inspection the law will require property owners to continually re-certify prior Lead Safe units are still Lead safe by having a reinspection for Lead-Safe at either turnover or every three years (whichever comes first) and Lead Safe Certifications are only valid for 2 years.
Who can perform the Lead inspection?
Lead inspections can only be done by
- Municipal local agency inspection program. In short a municipality may have a lead inspector or defer to one from the County, if the County has one.
- By an NJ DCA certified Lead Evaluation contractor hired by the municipality.
- The property owner can hire directly a NJ DCA Certified Lead Evaluation contractor to provide the Lead inspection.
What if no Lead is found?
You have to have a lead paint inspection to receive this designation, and this more expensive and costly inspection is not required by the law. Curren performs them and you can learn about them here:
What if Lead Paint hazard is Found?
If Lead based paint hazards are found, then you are required to address them by either lead-based paint abatement or lead based paint hazard control methods. When lead-based paint hazards are found to be present a dwelling after inspection the inspection pursuant to this law, New Jersey’s Commissioner of Community Affairs is required to be notified.
What are the requirements of property owners under P.L. 2021, c. 182?
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. Property owners must also report all tenant turnover activity to the municipality. Lastly, property owners must provide a copy of N.J.A.C. 5:28A, any lead-safe certifications, and the accompanying guidance document, Lead-Based Paint in Rental Dwellings, to any prospective owners of the dwelling during the real estate transaction, settlement, or closing.
What Does the Landlord do with the Lead Safe Certification?
Landlords are required to provide copies of all Lead Safe Certifications (per unit) and leases to the DCA inspector during their 5-year multiple dwelling inspection. Property owners will be required to provide copies of a current or newly issued Lead Safe Certificate to new residents specific for the unit they will be renting as part of the lease documents. If a resident resides within the unit during the Re-Lead Safe Certification renewal cycle (3 year) the resident must sign a copy of the Lead Safe Certification and such documentation must be maintained
Failure to comply with NJ Lead Safe Certification requirements can incur fines of up to $1000 per unit per week.
What properties are exempt from Lead Inspections?
- Properties that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint.
- Properties constructed during or after 1978.
- Rental units in a multiple dwelling that have 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.
- Single-family or two-family seasonal rental dwelling which is rented for less than 6 months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals.
- Properties that already have a valid lead-safe certification issued in accordance with this section.
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, which can be an expensive and costly lack of knowledge. The safe approach is to test for Lead and then know if or where it exists and then how to manage the risk.
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