Lead Paint in Massachusetts Homes

12 Replies

I just got my Moderate Risk Deleading License and learned a few things that may have already been shared, but I'll share them again.

There's a database of all MA homes that have been inspected for lead and tells if there are violations and if the violations have been fixed.

http://webapps.ehs.state.ma.us/Leadsafehomes/default.aspx

Just use the drop down and enter your city, then enter the street name. Just the name, not St or Ave. At my instructor's direction, I don't even put a number in, I just scroll through the results. There's 10 results per page (not always in numerical order), look for the little page numbers at the bottom of the chart and check all pages for your house.

If your house isn't in the list, it has never had an inspection. If it's in the list and has violations and no re-inspection listed, there are still violations and you need to hire a Moderate Risk or Class 1 Deleader, depending on the violation. If no violation, any RRP contractor can gut the house, including all lead (my instructor said with a wink and nod) and remodel legally.

This site should be in everyone's due diligence toolbox that buys in Ma.

Very useful information. Thanks for posting it!

Thanks Derreck! That's a great site and I never knew it existed. Out of curiosity, what is required to become certified? Also, how much more does it cost to gut a lead paint house vs a typical gut rehab?

Carl,

First, every contractor that works in the state of MA is supposed to be a certified "Lead Safe Renovator" and follow RRP rules. (By law, a copy of the certificate is supposed to be on every job.) Which means basically assume every house built before 78 is full of lead paint and follow the RRP rule, or test for lead and if negative, no rule required. Basically the RRP rule is plastic off work areas and contain and clean the dust to state regulations. It adds about 30% to the job. Even every painter is supposed to be a lead safe renovator as of 2010.

If you're doing the work yourself, you can take an 8 hour "Owner/Agent" course and be able to do "moderate risk" deleading on your own property. But where I'm a contractor I had to take a 8 hour Lead Safe Renovator Supervisor course, then a 4 hour Moderate Risk Deleader Option. The next step is a Class 1 Deleader. The difference is the volume of lead I can remove. A Moderate Risk Deleader is allowed to demo 6 square feet of wall per room. Basically to repair small holes from doorknobs and the like. We can also cover and make safe as much as needed, but to demolish takes a Class 1.

Now here's the big loophole and where that site becomes critical.
If the house has been inspected and violations were found, the work HAS to be done by a Moderate Risk or a Class 1 Deleader (or owner/agent). If the house is on that site and violations haven't been addressed and you gut the house, you'll get nailed for illegal deleading and it will be on that record that there was illegal deleading done in the house. You'd probably have issues getting federal money after that. No HUD or Fannie money.

If the house isn't on that site, then you're free to gut away. A contractor is still supposed to follow RRP rules, but a homeowner can do anything. The thing is, even a contractor can gut the house and it's legal. As long as it hasn't been inspected before, it's legal to do anything. If it's been inspected, a licensed deleader needs to do it adding around 30% to the job cost.

Thanks for this information Derreck. Like Carl mentioned, I had no idea this existed. Great resource though.

This is fantastic info, thanks so much for sharing. I will use this when looking up potential deals!

Steph

You're welcome Steph! Glad you'll get some use out of it.

@Derreck Wells Where do you sign up for this course and did it cost you anything? Do you need to file for a special permit before you can start work on a specific site?

I have taken the Moderate Risk Deleading course as well, it is a great course. Now one item that is not clear and no one seems to tell you this, but Landlords need to take the RRP class as well to be able to perform deleading. This is not really stated anywhere because these courses are focused at contractors and home owners. However, landlords are special and need this RRP course because they are considered to be doing this work 'for pay' even though we are not being paid directly.

Something I found out and thought others should know.

Mike

Originally posted by @Mike Hoefling :
I have taken the Moderate Risk Deleading course as well, it is a great course. Now one item that is not clear and no one seems to tell you this, but Landlords need to take the RRP class as well to be able to perform deleading. This is not really stated anywhere because these courses are focused at contractors and home owners. However, landlords are special and need this RRP course because they are considered to be doing this work 'for pay' even though we are not being paid directly.
Something I found out and thought others should know. Mike

The RRP class does not allow deleading! "Repair, Renovate, and Painting" is the class that everyone that is going to work on a house in MA is required by law to take. RRP allows you to renovate a house before a lead inspection, but if it's been inspected, a deleading license is required to do the deleading.

There is a different Owner/Agent deleading license you can get to work on your own property.

Hi Derreck, I looked in the MA database and it lists each of the three apartments in the building I'm buying as having lead paint, per inspections done in 1996 (and one in 2004).  Is it possible to get ahold of the actual inspections to find out the extent and exact locations of the lead paint?  The seller said he has no knowledge of whether the building has lead paint.  

Originally posted by @Maureen F. :

Hi Derreck, I looked in the MA database and it lists each of the three apartments in the building I'm buying as having lead paint, per inspections done in 1996 (and one in 2004).  Is it possible to get ahold of the actual inspections to find out the extent and exact locations of the lead paint?  The seller said he has no knowledge of whether the building has lead paint.  

 The easiest way would be to contact the inspectors listed. I will tell you the the units done in 96 will probably be a problem. I'd be willing to bet that the database says "No hazards found". In the 90s it was common for the inspector to list it as none found so they could just tell the homeowner what needed to be fixed and allow them to fix it without hiring a deleader. The problem there is that upon reinspection, there will be evidence od deleading work having been done and since there were "No hazards found" originally, why use deleading performed? Upon reinspection, it would probably be tagged as unauthorized deleading and you don't want that. The units would need to be un-deleaded before you have a reinspection done. If there's any evidence of scraping on doors, for example, I'd recommend replacing those old, warped, drafty doors with nice, new, tight doors during your renovation. Then have the reinspection done.

If the database says "Violations Found" there should be more entries that say "Reinspection Done" and "Letter Issued" or words to that effect. If there are no entries beyond "Violations Found" than it was never deleaded and would still need to be done.

You should have the units reinspected every turnover, it's called a Post Compliance Inspection and it just gets it on the record that the unit is still in compliance. It's the best way to protect yourself from a lawsuit.

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