As a result of a recent Environmental Protection Agency action in March 2022, property management companies nationwide are now required to obtain certification and meet lead-safe workplace requirements when performing or offering to perform lead-based paint repairs and renovations for compensation, even when hiring separate renovation firms.
In 2008, the EPA issued the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule to minimize lead-based hazards from renovations, repairs, or painting activities that disturb painted surfaces in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978. Property management companies have relied on the Environmental Protection Agency Lead-Based Paint Program Frequent Questions for guidance when performing or offering to perform renovations for compensation in properties covered by the rule. For over a decade, two questions - Questions 23002-13650 and 23002-18348 - in the guidance exempted property management companies from certification requirements if none of its employees performed the renovation and provided assurances that the company would not be subject to an enforcement action if a separate certified firm hired by the property management company subsequently violated the rule. However, after studying the property management industry, the EPA withdrew Questions 23002-13650 and 23002-18348.
In its study, the EPA noted industry practices like property management companies not hiring certified renovation firms, performing an element but not all of the renovations and a company’s contractual obligations to owners to actively oversee covered renovations, as arguably defeating the purpose of the rule. As a result, the EPA withdrew the two frequent questions and now require property management companies to obtain certification and meet lead-safe workplace requirements.
To avoid costly fines and enforcement actions as a result of lead-based paint renovations or repairs, property management companies should ensure it meets the following requirements:
- Obtain EPA certification (valid for 5 years, apply here) and renew certification at least 90 days before expiration.
- Ensure that all persons performing lead-based paint renovations on behalf of the company are either certified renovators or trained by a certified renovator.
- Assign a certified renovator to each renovation and ensure that they perform all the certified renovator responsibilities.
- Ensure implementation of work practice standards (including pre-renovation education requirements and lead-safe work practices).
- Meet recordkeeping requirements such as maintaining copies of certified renovator’s initial and renewed certificates at work site and for 3 years following each job.
While property management companies may continue to rely on the EPA Lead-Based Paint Program Frequent Questions, it is important to remember that it is a “living document and answers may be periodically revised and updated.” Therefore, property managers should frequently review the FQs to ensure compliance.