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New EPA laws on lead t-minus two days

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Lead Paint

With all the talk of market recovery, tax credits expiring, new Truth in Lending guidelines, this one may have snuck up on you.  Yes, the EPA’s new law requiring contractors to be certified to do renovations on homes built before 1978 will go in effect a scant two days from now on April 22nd.

From the EPA Website:

“To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.”


From what I can tell the exclusions are owner’s working on his/her own home, areas that are less than 6 sq feet indoors and 20 sq feet outdoors, and homes that have been tested for lead by a certified professional.   Landlords renovating their own properties are required to be certified or hire a certified professional.   Windows are NOT considered a minor repair and will not be exempt.  Renovators working on properties they own but intend to sell don’t seem to be addressed so far in my research.


The penalties can be up to 37k a day and anyone can report the violation including a neighbor and  you will be investigated.   There are states that have opted and been approved by the EPA to administer their own programs including: Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, and Mississippi.   Each of these states should have details of their program on their State Govt. Websites.

Info for Realtors:

The NAR has posted a series of videos addressing how these new laws will affect our industry.

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General Overview

Frequently Asked Questions


It sounds pretty life altering but the EPA suggests for contractors and painters that have been following previous EPA guidelines on reno jobs, should only see about a $65 per job jump in their costs.  The EPA continues to provide the certification course and their webpage on lead is extremely comprehensive if you would like to pass along more information to your clients.

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Written By

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.



  1. Jim Duncan

    April 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve only started to hear about this over the past 3-4 weeks, but it seems there are more than 200 “certified” lead renovators in my area already … it’s surely going to add yet another hurdle to an already challenging time.

  2. Lani Rosales

    April 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Anna, I SO support these measures, but I’m wondering who it should be reported to if GCs upcharge abusively? Like if an area contractor says it’ll add 30% to the bottom line of any project, who does the complaint go to? I’m sure this is obvious to everyone but me, but I’m just curious.

  3. Anna Altic

    April 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Lani – because this is an across the board rule and ALL the contractors and renovators are required to carry this certification to work on older homes then I suspect that they will probably pass the cost on. However, charging a premium in a time when work is scare may not be in their best interest considering many contractors will opt to price competiviely. Our profession is a vital link between contractors and homeowners though in being able to pass along accurate information.

  4. jay arlington condos

    April 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Where do you get the $65/job of additional costs estimate?


    • Anna Altic

      April 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      Jay – I’m new to AG so hopefully I am responding correctly. In the frequently asked questions section of the page I reference on my post the cost per project is the first they list. Here is a portion of their answer. I actually misspoke a little from some research I did yesterday.

      “EPA estimates that the costs of containment, cleaning, and cleaning verification will range from $8 to $167 per job, with the exception of those exterior jobs where vertical containment would be required.”

  5. Aaron Charlton

    April 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Here in Arizona, the EPA has had a stranglehold on the construction industry for years with their dust control ordinances that shut down or slow projects, levy huge fines, and require massive wasting of precious water resources to keep dust down on job sites. Being that we live in the desert, you would think a little dust would be allowed, particularly when the same ordinances don’t apply to farming — a much bigger dust creator. The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the EPA is full of environmental activists who are trying to shut the construction industry down, and this new rule is no different. Their estimate of $8 per job just shows that they don’t have a clue about construction. $8 per job implies that compliance will only require less than 5 minutes of their time. That’s funny. What

  6. BawldGuy

    April 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Considering much of San Diego’s home inventory, (and income property) was built WAY before 1978, this new reg will have an immediate impact here. Thanks — good stuff.

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