Apartment firms are reminded that new lead-based paint (LBP) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) regulations go into effect on April 22.
The regulations, which cover subsidized and market-rate properties built before 1978, require apartment firms that engage in activities covered by the rule to become certified, train their employees on lead-safe work practices and/or employ certified contractors to perform renovation or repair work. Properties that have been found to be lead-free by a state-certified inspector are exempt.
Several members have contacted NMHC/NAA to report that regional EPA officials have stated that the federally approved testing protocol that has been in place under the Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (40 CFR Part 745.227) will not be sufficient to comply with the requirements of the RRP rule. Under existing protocol, state-certified inspectors follow a prescribed methodology to evaluate a property. They then prepare a report that either declares the property to be "lead-free" or identifies which specific surfaces contain LBP.
Regional EPA officials incorrectly opined that such testing, including tests resulting in a determination that a property is "lead free," would not be sufficient to determine whether a property is exempt from the requirements of the RRP rule. This interpretation would have far-reaching implications for many property owners and creates the potential for serious liability exposure.
Members are advised that that the testing protocols found in the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act remain appropriate for compliance purposes under the RRP rule. The EPA will be communicating directly with its regional offices to clarify this matter.
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