door1What do the new laws mean?

On January 1, 2015 the federal government passed a new law that moved the cutoff date for required lead paint inspections from 1950 to 1978. The law goes into effect January 1st, 2015. This means all pre 1978 rental homes in Maryland that have a tenant turnover will need a lead paint inspection.Most homes that fall under the new law (1950-1978) are likely to be lead free or limited lead free.

Our clients are employing two different strategies to deal with the new law.

  • Strategy 1: Start testing now and receive the certificates. This ensures all properties are in compliance without any lapses.
  • Strategy 2: As tenants turnover, do the inspection and receive the certificate.

Strategy 1 has several advantages

  1. Once you are lead free or limited lead free, you will be able to opt out of the $30 per unit per year MDE registration fee
  2. You will have the inspection completed and a certificate issued, avoiding any delay in placing a new tenant.
  3. You know what needs to be done to be in compliance. Even if you don’t get the work done right away, you’ll at least know what needs to be done.
  4. You have a layer of protection if you ever end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

Can I get a lead free certificate for my house?

Unfortunately, we won’t know until we assess the lead paint situation, but here are some guidelines from our experience  by completing  numerous inspections:

  • Almost all houses built before the early 40s are loaded with lead based paint, unless they were stained originally or have gone through a major renovation project.
  • Properties built after the early 50s are sometimes lead free on the interior or close to it unless they have the original wooden windows, doors and a painted foundation.
  • Properties built after the mid 1960s are normally lead free on the exterior unless they have the original wooden windows and doors.

Of course, remember, these are rules of thumb… We won’t know until we get there.

Where is the lead based paint in a house?

If you have lead paint, it’s usually in the moldings, for example window casings, windows (if they are original) door casings, baseboards, staircases, etc. Usually it is not in the walls.

Generally, if there is lead on the exterior it will be in most exterior components.

How do you make a component ‘lead free?’

There are three ways to make a component lead free:

  1. Strip it.
  2. Replace it.
  3. Enclose it. Enclosure is defined as a rigid material that has been mechanically fastened. Enclosure is an approved method in Maryland and Virginia.

What is the difference between ‘lead free’ and ‘limited lead free?’

Lead free means you are lead free on the interior and exterior of the property. There is no need for any further inspections. This can only be given with the XRF testing.

Limited lead free means you are lead free on the interior of the property, but there is lead paint on the exterior or common areas of the property. The property exterior will need to be re-inspected every 2 years (simple visual exterior and common area only inspection).

How ‘deep’ does the XRF gun penetrate?

The XRF gun will read through all the layers of paint (in some cases over 50 layers).

How do I pass the Full Risk Reduction inspection (dust swipes)?

There are two parts to the inspection:

  1. No chipping, peeling, flaking paint anywhere at the property, inside, outside and the basement
  2. After part 1 is done, then we take the swipes. Typically dust swipes fail because:
    1. Wooden windows. When there are wooden windows we are required to take two swipes per room. One of those swipes is from the window well. The second wipe is from the floor.  The window well must be spotlessly/white glove clean. The window well is the area that the window sash closes down on top of. You have to lift the window up to clean the well.
    2. Basement floors. Unfinished basement floor have a very high propensity to fail the dust swipes. Cleaning them is an option, but it’s tough to get them clean .We recommend detergent cleaning and hepa vacuuming.  When a rehab is done, lead dust flies everywhere. It’s really important to have the property spotlessly clean. After a tenant moves out it needs to be clean. After a rehab it needs to be spotlessly cleaned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         There are four things you need to do:
  1. Have a valid lead paint certificate
  2. Have the property registered with the MDE.
  3. Give the tenants the Maryland’s Notice of Tenants Rights and the EPA Brochure. Tenants must sign to confirm receipt.
  4. Every two years have the tenants sign that they received the above pamphlets.

Can I opt out of the $30 per unit fee to the MDE?

After January 1st, 2015 if the rental property was built 1978 or prior, then it must be registered but is exempt from inspection until tenant turnover. The bi-annual fee of $30.00 must be paid regardless of tenant turnover.

When is payment due?

Payment is due at the time of initial inspection. During your free phone consultation we assess the property, give you your options regarding lead free, limited lead free or full risk reduction (dust swipes) and then you decide which inspection is the most appropriate. We accept cash, checks and credit cards.

In a multi-unit building, can separate units have different types of inspections?

Yes, units can be ‘certed’ individually based on which inspection they pass.

I don’t know if I’m ready for a lead inspection. When should I call you?

If you need to obtain a lead free certificate call us straight away. It is always best to do a lead free inspection while the property is being rehabbed so we can identify work required prior to completion. We provide a list of what needs to be abated and will do clearance testing for you.

If you’re not sure, please contact us to discuss.

What are exterior waivers?

Exterior waivers are only available for full risk reduction certificates (dust swipes) from November 1st to April 1st. The waivers expire on April 30.

We release waivers if:

  1. The property is reinspected by April 30th (drop-dead date).
  2. The client submits a supervisor statement to us. An MDE accredited lead paint maintenance supervisor must sign the supervisor statement. It is important to note that the contractor needs to be an MDE accredited contractor not just an EPA RRP accredited contractor.

Our service to release waivers is free of charge.

What is the difference between an MDE accredited contractor and an EPA accredited contractor?

An MDE accredited contractor must be used to perform any kind of LEAD PAINT ABATEMENT on a RENTAL property in Maryland. An EPA RRP contractor needs to be used to do any kind of renovation or repairs on any pre 1978 residential property.