Property Owners Share Lead Paint Safety Responsibility
23 February, 2022
23 February, 2022
Contractors involved in RRP compliance might be relieved to know there is now a shared responsibility in lead abatement projects. While they are still required to comply as before, the EPA announced that building and property managers, along with contractors, will be responsible for compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. A spokesperson for the EPA answered some questions to shed some light on the decision:
EPA’s experience since 2010 has informed us that there are circumstances where PMCs that hire outside renovation firms also perform, offer or claim to perform the renovations in housing with lead-based paint. This means PMCs often are involved in work that subjects them to the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule which requires certification and lead-safe work practices, among other things.
Our experience, however, has also informed us that many PMCs are not certified and that the impact of non-certified PMC work can be significant. It is important to recognize that PMCs manage a significant portion of the nation's rental housing market, and each PMC often manages a large number of rental housing units. For example, the largest 50 PMCs alone control 3.4 million units. PMCs also manage approximately 205,000 family housing projects, which comprise 99% of privatized military housing. More than 3.18 million children under the age of 6 years live in pre-1980 rental housing. Communities with environmental justice concerns often include a higher proportion of rental housing.
A contractor performing renovations continues to have compliance responsibilities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. The contractor and PMC may be independently responsible: either or both may be subject to enforcement and potential penalties depending on their activities, regardless of whether another entity also might be responsible. EPA would assess compliance by PMCs with the RRP Rule, as it would for any other entity, according to the broadly applicable language of the RRP Rule: that no firm may perform, offer, or claim to perform renovations in target housing or child-occupied facilities without certification from EPA, unless the renovation qualifies for a specified regulatory exception.
No, [this change] does not change a contractor’s compliance responsibility. Compliance with the RRP Rule’s requirements for certification and lead-safe work practices prevent the release of lead-based paint hazards such as paint chips and dust containing lead that may harm children and others.
Contractors should maintain their certifications and obtain re-certification on time; and continue to comply with the RRP Rule’s lead-safe work practices and other requirements. More information about lead and the importance of protecting workers and residents, as well as children, is available at epa.gov/lead.
I have been lead certified for about 8-10 years. I haven’t seen too much enforcement from the EPA, to be honest — the only ones that got caught were the ones who got ratted out. I’m all for safety, and do my work by the book. My experience with the lead jobs is that everyone wants a letter written saying house is safe for sale. I only really did a handful of actual jobs as no one wants to pay to have it done correctly. I feel building managers, superintendents, etc. should be trained, especially since the lead in the building can be disturbed by several different trades, most of whom are unaware of the lead laws or rules.
We do many projects that include lead paint remediation: schools, historical society landmarks, older office buildings and municipal work. I would welcome “shared responsibility” for the proper means & methods in legally removing these coating and the proper disposal at the completion of the project. Building owners have skin in the game and much more apt to follow the letter of the law and insist on it being done by the book.
I think this new ruling will help hold all parties more accountable.
IF EPA got it right the first time, then this action would not be necessary. Our position is that the Property Management Company functions as a general contractor in disguise. Therefore, they should march to the same orders EPA holds renovation contractors’ and painters’ feet to the fire regarding compliance. Lead is a terrible neurotoxin and people involved in renting, repairing and selling properties that contain this element need to understand the moral obligation to those human beings that decide to give you their hard-earned money for a safe place to live.
The recent clarification to the EPA’s RRP rule fixes confusion regarding property managers’ responsibilities under the law. So far, the City of Toledo has received no reports of issues from property management companies. We believe most property managers were already under compliance with the rule or are now becoming fully certified.
Check out how the EPA handles RRP infractions in our previous reporting: