As of July 22, 2022 there is a new law in effect that concerns certain lead based paint hazards in residential rental property. This law is P.L. 2021, c.182. The law imposes an obligation on municipalities to perform or hire a certified lead evaluation contractor to perform inspections of certain sing-family, two-family, and multiple rental dwellings for lead-based paint hazards, at times specified per the law. The municipality shall also permit each owner/landlord to directly hire a certified lead evaluation contractor for this purpose. If there are lead paint hazards found in the property, then the owner must remediate the hazards through abatement or lead-based paint hazard control mechanisms.
Are Any Residential Properties Exempt from Inspection?
There are properties that are exempt from this new law. The exemptions include the following:
- Properties that were constructed during or after 1978.
- Properties that are certified to be free of lead-based paint in accordance with department regulations
- Properties with a valid lead-safe certification issued pursuant to this law, which is valid for 2 years.
- 1 and 2 family seasonal rental dwellings, which are rented for less than 6 months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals. This does not apply to seasonal multiple dwellings.
- Multiple rental dwellings that have been registered with the Dept. of Community Affairs for at least 10 years and have no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection.
- A multiple dwelling that has been registered with the Dept. of Community Affairs for at least 10 years with an open inspection that has no violations for paint.
When Does My Property Need to Be Inspected?
All rental properties are required to be inspected within 2 years of July 22, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever occurs first. The first inspection cannot take place past July 22, 2024. After the first inspection, each unit needs to be re-inspected for lead paint hazards every 3 years or when a tenant moves out, whichever is first. However, an inspection when a tenant moves out is not required if the owner has a valid lead-safe certification, which is valid for 2 years.
What Type of Inspection is Performed?
Depending on which municipality your property is located in, the type of inspection that is carried out will either be a visual inspection or a dust wipe sampling. With a visual inspection, the inspector will look for visible surface dust, debris, and/or residue. Any paint that is peeling, chipping, or cracking is considered deteriorated and will raise a flag. They will also look at surfaces where two sides rub together and can cause paint deterioration. Some examples of these surfaces include windows, floors, and trim areas.
With a dust wipe sampling inspection, the inspector will wipe a surface that can include floors (carpeted and non-carpeted), interior windowsills, as well as other similar surfaces. Once the sampling is done, it will be tested in accordance with a HUD approved method. It is recommended that anytime a dust wipe sampling is performed that a visual inspection also occur.
Do I have to Pay Any Fees?
Per the new law, municipalities must charge the owner or landlord a fee that is sufficient to cover the cost of the inspection. In addition, each municipality will assess an additional fee of $20 per unit inspected. The $20 fee will be deposited into the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund. Outside of the inspection fees, a property owner may be required to remediate the property if there is lead paint found. Some of the abatement measures used include paint removal, building component replacement, or enclosure. Any remediation work must be performed by certified companies or individuals in accordance with all state and federal regulations.
For more information on finding a lead abatement contractor use the following link: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/offices/leadhazard_abatement.htm
Avallon Real Estate Group is not an attorney. For any questions on interpretation of the law, you should consult with an attorney.