Lead Safe Renovation

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rob Gorman / Town Green Real Estate

Recently I have been speaking with clients and builders about the EPA regulation which became effective Aprill 22 throughout the US. It requires certification for a home improvement contractor to perform work on any home built prior to 1978 which contains lead paint.

The interior work doesn't seem too onerous as far as procedures to comply with the regulations and the extra cost should not be a job killer.

The outside is a different matter however, in that let's say you are going to power wash the house in preparation for the painting. You must contain the spray completely and collect and remove the water along with the materials which came off the house. In addition, should any paint come in contact with the ground, 5" of the soil must be removed as well.

You may think, well why not just scrape and/or sand the surface? Well, you can only sand if you use a HEPA vac sander which captures the dust. Have fun making sure you don't miss any though!

By the way, the fine for non compliance with the regulation is $37,500 A DAY !

And lets say you just have a relatively easy interior job. There is a white glove requirement where the interior has to be wiped and the "glove" sent to a lab for testing. If any lead is in the sample - you must clean again and glove again and test again until you pass.

Oh, and for those who may try and do their work on the QT . . .  neighbors are encouraged to turn you in.

All in all, it does not bode well for owners or buyers of pre 1978 built homes to do resonably priced home improvements and renovations.

The reason is well justified for the initiative, the removal of lead poisoning of our children. About a half million are affected with learning disorders due to lead poisoning.

Comments (3)

Kevin Conery
Keller Williams Realty Success, LLC - Littleton, CO
Colorado Realtor

Lead is bad stuff.  Buyer beware when buying 1978 or older.  Hey is a childs health worth taking a risk to save time and energy? 

Jun 12, 2010 03:46 AM
Sanna K. Thomas
Sellstate Next Generation Realty - Ocala, FL
PA GRI, E-Pro, SFR, AHWD, LH Ocala Florida Luxury

This is going do damage the resale market of older homes. Most will need renovations and for the ones that have already been renovated they may have lost the value of those renovations. The cost to tear one down or try to renovate one, especially the exterior work, is off the charts. We have a beautiful Historic district, which now sounds like it will be treated like Chernobyl.  I especially love the part about "turning in your neighbor ". I understand the importance of protecting children, then just don't buy a pre-1978 home.

Jun 12, 2010 04:09 AM
Rob Gorman
Rob Gorman / Town Green Real Estate - Redding, CT


Your Historic District comment really applies in CT where I practice.

It will be interesting to see if the market perceives a lower value for

the pre 1978 homes or perhaps a new category of discrimination in housing

will become the norm - Families with children under 6 or those who plan to

have children should not be shown or allowed to buy pre 1978 homes.


Jun 15, 2010 04:50 AM