The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the definitions of lead in paint, dust and soil in response to a petition by a coalition of environmental and child health advocate groups. EPA now has 90 days to issue a proposed rule and must issue the final rule within a year. It is currently unclear what the impact on the multifamily industry will be and specifically if the revised definitions will force property owners or managers to invest more in lead-related testing.
Since 1994, owners of pre-1978 properties have been required to disclose whether there is lead-based paint or lead hazards on their properties at time of lease transaction and whenever property operations are likely to disturb lead-based paint or create lead hazards.
Residential properties built before 1978 are required to comply with federal lead regulations including disclosure, use of certified workers and firms, record keeping. Operators of federally assisted property (including housing choice vouchers) are required to document lead levels using certified third-party risk assessors and lead testers to document proper cleanup following activities that may disturb lead-based paint or create lead hazards.
Pre-1978 properties found to be lead-free by a state certified inspector using specific testing protocols are exempt from the requirements. Property operators have invested millions of dollars in testing to determine the lead status of their properties. Whether changes in these definitions will impact prior determinations is unsettled at this point. NMHC/NAA will continue to be engaged in all rulemakings involving lead in paint, dust and soil.
More information on federal lead-based paint regulations is available on NMHC web site.
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