The City of Philadelphia now requires an additional disclosure that must be delivered to tenants which explains the law regarding lead based paint (LBP).
The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in 1978. According to the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 69 percent of Pennsylvania homes were built before 1978. Approximately 86 percent of the homes in the City of Philadelphia were constructed before the mandated LBP banned.
While the federal government requires a disclosure that must be signed to anyone purchasing or renting a property built before 1978, as well receiving “The Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home” pamphlet which does not require lead-based paint testing for home sales or rental properties. The City of Philadelphia does now have lead-based paint testing requirements for landlords.
Current Philadelphia Lead Paint Laws
Current regulations in Philadelphia require a landlord to have a lead paint inspection completed if the following three conditions are present:
- The property was built prior to 1978 (original foundation/structure)
- The property is in the city of Philadelphia
- The tenants moving in have a child under seven years old
- A minimum of 10% of the units must be tested
For landlords wanting to avoid having multiple tests performed with each new tenant, they can go through the process of having the property certified as lead-free. To obtain the certification, you must have a lead-free (different from lead-safe) inspection completed, identify the areas where lead paint is present, and complete the abatement process to rid the home of all lead paint. The city of Philadelphia has specific requirements for how lead-based paint can be labeled, removed, and disposed of during the process.
Future of Philadelphia Lead Paint Laws
The city of Philadelphia is in the process of making homes safer for residents. Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, says it’s nearly impossible for city leaders to know if a child under the age of seven is living in a home with lead-based paint. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown then introduced legislation that would remove the age restriction on Philadelphia lead paint laws. While the bill will likely not take effect until 2020, it’s designed to protect more families against lead paint poisoning and place more ownership on landlords in Philadelphia. Once legislation passes, the new Philadelphia lead paint law will require a lead paint inspection if:
- The property was built prior to 1978 (original foundation/structure) AND
- The property is in the city of Philadelphia
- All apartment units must be tested
The new law will be implemented over the course of five years, starting in the highest affected areas.
What is a Lead-Based Paint Inspection?
A lead paint inspection must be performed by a certified inspector. The inspector will thoroughly investigate multiple surfaces of the property to determine whether lead-based paint is present and where it is located. Under the Philadelphia Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification Law, if a building was built before 1978, the property owners must provide all tenants with certification that it is lead-free or lead safe. If the Department of Public Health discovers a hazard, the landlord is required to hire an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified firm to fix it. The danger must be corrected in 30 days, or the property owner must appear in court.
It’s important to note that a lead paint inspection differs from a lead paint risk assessment. According to the EPA, a risk assessment is performed by certified risk assessors who perform an “on-site investigation to determine the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards (including lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil). They will then suggest ways to control them.” The risk assessment helps a property owner locate the source of exposure and build a possible solution.
In 2016, nearly 2,700 children tested in Philadelphia had harmful levels of lead in their blood. The future changes for Philadelphia lead paint laws will work toward providing healthier homes for families and toward keeping children safe.
How VERTEX Can Help
The VERTEX Companies, LLC is devoted to helping property owners and managers understand the lead paint laws. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your rental property. To learn more, please contact Tony Alessandrini, VERTEX’s Division Manager within the Philadelphia metropolitan area at 215.850.8858.