New Lead Safety Rules Relating to Housing Renovations are Now Effective

Author:Mr Charles Warren
Profession:Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

On April 22, 2010, new federal lead-based paint regulations that govern renovations of housing constructed prior to 1978 and facilities occupied by children under the age of six became effective. The regulations were promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act. The new regulations require that all renovations performed on certain types of housing, except do-it-yourself renovations, be performed by certified renovation firms. These certified renovation firms must perform renovations in accordance with specific enumerated work practice standards and provide owners and occupants with information on lead-based paint hazards before renovations begin. The regulations also require certified renovation firms to comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and contain provisions for EPA and certified inspectors to ensure that certified renovation firms comply with the regulations, as well as sanctions to enforce the new requirements.

The new regulations apply to "target housing" and "child-occupied facilities." Target housing is defined as any housing constructed prior to 1978. The rule excludes housing for the elderly or persons with disabilities or any 0-bedroom dwelling, such as studio and efficiency apartments. A child-occupied facility is defined as a building, or portion of a building, constructed prior to 1978, that is visited regularly by the same child who is under age six. Examples of child-occupied facilities include day care centers, preschools and kindergarten classrooms. "Renovation" means the modification of any existing structure, or portion of a structure, that results in the disturbance of a painted surface, unless that activity is performed as part of a lead-based paint abatement.

The regulations apply only if the renovation is performed "for compensation." The regulations exclude minor repair and maintenance activities that disturb no more than six square feet of painted surface per room for interiors, or no more than twenty square feet of painted surface for exteriors; renovations that only affect components that have been tested and are free of lead-based paint; and emergency renovations. The regulations also currently exclude renovations in target housing that is owner occupied and not occupied by a child or pregnant woman. However, as discussed below, renovations in this type of housing will no longer be excluded from the new requirements beginning on July 6,...

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