Lead Safe vs. Lead Free

6 Replies

So my understanding was initially that in Philadelphia as a landlord you just needed to supply your tenants with the HUD "Protect your Family from Lead in your Home" Packet. I just came across this: http://www.phila.gov/health/childhoodlead/LeadPain... which states that in Philadelphia, PA we if we're renting to children aged 6 or younger we actually need to have our properties certified as lead paint or lead free. So with that said, for those of you who have had this done, what are the costs for the lead safe certification, roughly? Can I certify this myself?

Also, I know we can't refuse to rent to families with children, but are there ways to minimize the odds that families with children aged 6 or younger will apply, or anything like that?

After a quick read, the Philadelphia laws seem similar to Maryland law, which I am more familiar with.  

Lead safe means we didn't find any peeling paint, or lead dust at this point in time.  Lead free, in Maryland, means we took an X-ray spectrometer to your property, and there are no exposed lead surfaces inside and outside your property.  (well, that's the simple version anyway.)

In Phillie your lead safe is good for 24 months, then you get to pay for it again.  If there is peeling paint at anytime there is potential lead (and legal) exposure.  In ~Baltimore houses built after 1950 generally only have lead on outside, and are easily remediated.  

You can not inspect this yourself, unless you become licensed.  If you go to court, which is partly what all this is about, you are much better protected if inspected by independent party.

MD laws have been successful in reducing lead exposure.  Last report I saw had higher exposure in owner occupied vs rental property.  Reduction from ~10,000 to ~100 cases I think.

For those in areas without local lead laws and properties built before ~1960, find someone with an XRF gun in your area.  Next vacancy see what shows up, and get rid of it or seal it up.  You'll protect your tenant and a lawsuit.  (After 1960 may have lead, base your decision on your locations use of lead paint, and comfort zone.)

In Phila, you need the certification to come from a certified lead dust sampling technician. 

And Phila has lead disclosures above and beyond what the Federal disclosures are, so go read up on that. 

@John Matthews , be aware that this is a "lead safe" not lead free certification. A property can be lead safe even if lead based paint is present in the property.  If the paint film is sound (not cracks, holes in the wall, peeling paint) and the unit is free of lead dust, the odds are you will pass a lead dust test. 

If you have and older home and  you go lead safe and they take dust swipes for your lead inspection please take the advice given on your state web sites regarding lead inspections. Clean thoroughly in the areas they will do dust swipes or you will have a failed inspection.  I can't emphasize enough that they need to be  dust free and don't just hire a cleaning service.  Make sure that you specify exactly where and with what you want surfaces cleaned when you have someone clean for you.   It is not dust you can see they are looking for. Many renters do not know these regulations so they won't ask but when they do you need to have a good understanding of what the law is.

How to clean lead dust? My apartment tested positive at the windows that appear recently installed. Pass 10 years. The lead tester said possibl y it's coming from the pocket doors at the opening of the room. The apartment building is maybe 100 years old. Any advice would be appreciated.