In April 2008, EPA promulgated regulations governing renovations in target housing (i.e., any housing constructed prior to 1978) and child-occupied facilities. The rule was designed to ensure that owners and occupants of target housing and child-occupied facilities receive information on lead-based paint hazards prior to the commencement of renovations and to ensure that firms performing such work are certified and safe work practices followed. (A copy of the final rule is available here.)
Pre-renovation notice requirements had been in effect since 1999; the April 2008 regulation simply specified a new pamphlet to be distributed to owners and occupants as of December 22, 2008. (A copy of that pamphlet is available here.)
However, the new regulations also require that, as of April 22, 2010, all renovations in target housing or child-occupied facilities be conducted by certified renovators and in accordance with specified lead-safe work practices. This represents a sea change in addressing lead paint issues in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities. The term “renovations” is broadly defined in the regulations to include any “modification of any existing structure, or portion thereof, that results in the disturbance of painted surfaces” and includes such activities as modification of painted doors, window repair, and weatherization projects.
Significantly, and unlike the abatement requirements of New York City’s lead paint law, the EPA regulations go beyond rental housing and apply to work performed in co-ops and condominiums. Owners of rental properties performing renovation work themselves will need to be certified and ensure that the lead-safe work practices are followed. Where outside contractors are used, it will be prudent to ensure that the contracts require EPA certification. For co-ops and condominiums, it also would be prudent for the corporation or homeowners’ association to take steps to ensure that all work performed within the building complies with these new rules. Thus, alteration agreements for owner renovations may need to be changed and other steps taken to ensure that the EPA disclosure and renovation rules are followed by contractors working in the building.