We hope you find this blog post helpful.

If you want us to manage your property, click here.

What is the New EPA Lead-Safe Certification and Do Property Management Companies Need It?

Lead-based paint was often used in both homes and commercial buildings before the health hazards associated with it were fully understood. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since then implemented regulations to address various lead-based paint hazards, particularly in older properties (those built before 1978). One crucial component of these regulations is the EPA Lead-Safe Certification. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what EPA Lead-Safe Certification is, its significance, and whether property management companies need it. Keep reading to learn more.

What is EPA Lead-Safe Certification?

The EPA’s Lead-Safe Certification is an environmental requirement under the organization’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule. This rule aims to protect tenants, residents, and visitors against lead exposure that may occur during and after renovation, repair, and painting activities in pre-1978 houses and buildings. This certification serves to demonstrate that a firm is adequately trained and equipped to safely handle lead-based paint.

Why is EPA Lead-Safe Certification Important?

EPA Lead-Safe Certification isn’t just a regulatory obligation. It’s a fundamental aspect of responsible property management and RRP activities that prioritize human health, safety, legal compliance, environmental consciousness, and tenant satisfaction. 

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why the EPA’s Lead-Safe Certification is essential when it comes to managing properties or pursuing property renovations.

  • Health Protection: Exposure to lead can pose severe health risks, especially to children and pregnant individuals. Even low levels of lead exposure can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other health problems. The EPA’s Lead-Safe Certification helps to ensure that renovation and painting activities are conducted as safely as possible. This, in turn, minimizes the risk of lead exposure to workers, tenants, and those who frequent affected buildings.
  • Legal Compliance: Failure to comply with the EPA’s safety regulations can result in significant penalties for those responsible for conducting lackluster work efforts. Non-certified firms that handle renovation or painting projects in pre-1978 properties (and businesses working with them) risk incurring thousands of dollars worth of fines per violation, per day. As such, property managers need to adhere to these regulations in order to avoid facing legal repercussions.
  • Reputation Management: Securing EPA Lead-Safe Certification not only ensures legal compliance but it also enhances a property management company’s reputation among tenants, other clients, and the general public. Tenants and property owners have become increasingly aware of lead hazards and are far more likely to trust and respect companies that prioritize safety and legal compliance.
  • Insurance Requirements: Many insurance companies require property management companies to follow specific safety guidelines, including EPA Lead-Safe Certification, in order to maintain coverage. Failing to meet these requirements could result in higher insurance premiums or even the denial of coverage in the event of a lead-related claim. 

Do Property Management Companies Need It?

Property managers themselves (and their companies) are not necessarily required to be EPA Lead-Safe Certified, as the certification primarily applies to firms or individuals who take part in renovation, repair, and painting work. However, property managers absolutely have legal responsibilities related to Lead Safety when it comes to the properties they oversee. 

If these companies have anything to do with renovation projects or maintenance activities that could potentially disturb lead-based paint, it’s essential for them to follow legal protocols. This includes when property managers have their own staff members take part in RRP activities or hire contractors to handle the work. In any case, if work is conducted on a pre-1978 property, management companies should verify that those who participate in the work are EPA Lead-Safe Certified.

In addition, property management companies may, at times, encounter situations where maintenance or repair work might inadvertently disturb lead-based paint. As such, it’s always a good idea to work with professionals or have staff who are trained in lead-safe work practices. These efforts can mitigate risks and ensure EPA compliance, even if there’s only a slim chance of disturbing lead-based paint through work efforts.

What if my property management company handles RRP activities?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any company that performs, offers to perform, or claims to perform renovations, repairs, or painting activities in pre-1978 residential or commercial buildings is required to become a Lead-Safe Certified business

Compliance Tips for Property Management Companies

Though property managers are not directly obligated to obtain EPA Lead-Safe Certification themselves, they play a crucial role in ensuring that Lead-Safety regulations are followed in properties under their management. Here are a few tips that property managers should follow in order to fulfill their legal obligations and help protect the health and safety of everyone involved with pre-1978 properties (tenants, visitors, commercial occupants, etc.).

  • Verify Contractor Certification: Property managers are obligated to ensure that any contractors they hire to handle renovation, repair, or painting projects in pre-1978 properties they manage are EPA Lead-Safe Certified. Failing to hire professional, certified contractors could result in legal liability if lead exposure occurs during the project.
  • Train Staff Effectively: If property managers are using their own staff members to conduct RRP activities, they need to verify that their team is adequately trained and certified to perform the work. When using a company’s own staff, property managers are required to become a Lead-Safe Certified firm before any work can be performed on a pre-1978 property.
  • Keep Thorough Records: It’s wise for property managers to maintain records of EPA Lead-Safe Certification for any contractors they hire to work on pre-1978 properties (including their own teams, if applicable), as well as documentation of tenant notifications in regard to lead hazards. These records can serve as evidence of compliance in the event of an audit or legal dispute.
  • Educate Your Tenants: Property managers also need to inform tenants about any planned renovation or maintenance work that may disturb lead-based paint in their rental units. This includes providing adequate information about potential lead hazards and precautionary measures that tenants can take to minimize any potential exposure.

EPA Lead-Safe Certification is a crucial requirement for any firm involved in renovation, repair, and painting activities in pre-1978 properties. While property management companies may not directly perform such activities, they play an important role in ensuring compliance by hiring certified contractors and implementing lead-safe work practices. By prioritizing EPA Lead-Safe Certification, property management companies can effectively uphold health and safety standards, comply with regulations, and safeguard their reputation.

Visit Our Blog