Get the lead out

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blog Image I am sure that each of us has heard “get the lead out” before and probably for different reasons. If you manage property that is older than 1978 you MUST consider this new rule. This new Lead Renovator Rule pertains to every contractor and maintenance personnel who disturbs painted surfaces that may contain lead based paint. The new rules can be found in Title X of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and include the requirement of an EPA Certification for Renovators of housing built prior to 1978. If more than a 6 square foot of an interior or 20 square foot of an exterior lead paint covered wall is disturbed by a repair then steps to prevent the lead dust from becoming airborne and contaminating the home must be taken. If you operate a property management company or are just a helpful friendly REALTOR® and send maintenance people to your client’s property, be sure to have a copy of their EPA Certification in your file.

You should also provide written instructions to your repair vendors on what is expected when it comes to property renovation techniques outlined in the Brochure. There is a requirement that the tenant be provided with the 19 page Renovate Right Brochure available at the EPA’s website

This disclosure is required seven days before the renovation begins and the requirement has provisions for the tenant to sign that they have received the disclosure. The fines start at $33,500 for failure to disclose, or failure to follow the rules. I recently attended the Certification Training for Renovators in Las Vegas and learned that lead is not just in paint of the older homes. It is also in ceramic tiles. Of course it is safe in the ceramic tile and poses no problems until you start to renovate and smash the tiles to replace them. Two square feet of area is not that much when you think about this. A few door knob holes in the wall or three or four broken tiles in a tub enclosure or two 12” floor tiles are enough to require the Certified Renovator to do the job. Lead is a neurotoxin and causes irreversible nerve damage. Lead was largely used as a stabilization agent in paint and prevented mold from growing because it is so toxic. The myth that lead is only harmful to children is just that, a myth. Lead dust when inhaled or otherwise ingested causes headache, stomach problems, memory loss and dementia and a myriad of other problems according to government studies. If your repairmen isn’t wearing protective equipment such as a P100 Air Purifier Respirator and a Tyvek® protective suit and hasn’t isolated the work area then you are only tempting fate.

When in doubt about the present of lead, you must err on the side of caution and treat the area as if lead was present in housing that was pre-1978. The cost of an inspection of the home is relatively cheap for each consumer to find out for himself or herself. Recent information from Phoenix city officials indicated $35.00 per room and in Las Vegas; prices vary from $300 to $750 depending on size of the property. Having an inspection done takes the guesswork out of the equation and considering the cost of a cleanup and possible $32,500 fine takes the risk out of it as well. Kathy Lauckner, U.S. EPA accredited training provider at UNLV, indicated of the housing they inspected in Las Vegas they are only finding 10% of those to have lead paint. The higher than normal lead levels present in many of the children tested by the health district have been traced to ingredients from food purchased outside the U.S. or from lead in the soil that was tracked into the homes on shoes. Do yourself a favor and download the brochure and get up to speed on “getting the lead out” before you have to “get your cash out”

George W Trombley, RMP, Broker Blackbird Realty and Management, Inc. Certified Renovator

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