By Lee Wasserman
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) released their lead-based paint regulations P.L. 2021, c.182, commonly referred to as NJ Lead Safe Certification. This NEW lead-based paint law will require lead inspections for certain New Jersey rental properties.
With the murky guidance from DCA, our office has been flooded with calls from landlords and I have been asked to speak for NJAA, NJPOA, NJEHA, Diane Turton, and just last week appeared on PBS Spotlight on NJ’s Evening News to discuss the new regulations.
I’ve put together some key takeaways from the new law that every New Jersey landlord should know.
The New Regulations
Effective July 22, 2022, New Jersey requires lead paint inspections for pre-1978, residential single unit, two-family, and multifamily rental properties upon tenant turnover, or by July 24, 2024, if there is no tenant turnover. Unless the unit meets one of the state-regulated exemptions
Lead Safe Certification
Part of the new law requires municipalities to ensure that every rental unit has a valid lead safe certification or is exempt. If a landlord chooses not to hire a lead inspector to inspect their rental units, then the municipality is required to conduct an initial lead inspection followed by re-inspections every two to three years depending on the timing of unit turnover(s).
Landlords that receive a lead-safe certification from the municipality or a private firm will be required to have their unit re-inspected after two years if there is a tenant turnover or every three years if there is no turnover.
The new regulations also create a path for landlords to receive a lead-based paint-free certification for PERMANENT EXEMPTION
Lead-Based Paint Free Certifications
Unit-issued Lead-Based Paint free certifications are valid forever and require no further inspections, disclosure, or other lead responsibilities under this new law. Getting a unit or building-wide lead-based paint-free certification, if achievable, is the goal! Never have to deal with the lead paint, recurring fees, and municipal inspections issue again!
Obtaining a Lead-Based Paint Free Certification
New Jersey landlords who are seeking lead-based paint-free certifications must retain a firm that utilizes X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing for lead paint inspections. XRF testing is efficient, cost-effective, and non-destructive. XRF analysis is a proven technology used to detect and quantify the amount of lead present in older paint.
After an inspection where no lead-based paint is found per the sampling protocol, a “Lead-Based Paint Free certification” will be issued. While XRF testing is not a requirement of the law, XFR technology allows landlords to receive the lead-free certification which exempts them from future inspections. If lead is identified within the unit, but there are no signs of the paint chipping, cracking, peeling, blistering, or showing signs of impact or friction, then the required lead-safe certification can be issued. This is good for two years and must be attached to the current lease and any future leases while the certification is still valid (2yrs).
The takeaway? Spending a little extra now and performing a lead-based paint inspection at the same time as performing NJ’s new lead laws visual inspection or lead dust wipe sampling will provide the critical knowledge of “do I have lead-based paint and where is it”. This knowledge will empower NJ landlords to take control of their lead-based paint concerns, if any, and creates a path to negate the need for future inspections.
For over 30 years our firm has specialized in Lead-Based Paint, NJ Rental properties, and creating affordable pricing packages for every budget. Contact us today to learn more about our lead-based paint inspections (paint, visual, dust) for New Jersey landlords.