Real Estate Roundup with Sharon Alva: Lead paint and the law
On April 22 of this year, a new Environmental Protection Agency law went into effect requiring that any renovation work performed on houses built before 1978 be performed by a certified contractor. The EPA certification seeks prevent lead poisoning. Under the rule, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Certification for lead paint work is not hard to come by. Individuals can become certified renovators by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider. Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three procedures:
· Contain the work area.
· Minimize dust.
· Clean up thoroughly
Full eight-hour trainings and four-hour refresher courses are available in the East Bay, so homeowners and their maintenance crews can be certified for just $100. Others pay $130. Small areas can be worked on in a home without triggering the law. Window replacement and minor maintenance or repair activities where less than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room or where less than 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior are exempt.
Where does the new rule intersect with real estate transactions?
Many homeowners get their properties ready for sale, and that’s when paint disturbance can happen. Doing the work yourself does not exempt a homeowner from the rules. Real estate agents who often refer handymen to help prepare a home for being placed on the market will be cautious to only refer contractors who have been certified.
Buyers buying distressed properties should consider the cost of properly renovating a home that was built prior to 1978. The new regulations will mean a safer environment and protection against lead poisoning, but could also increase the cost of renovation.
The EPA site has further information on appropriate procedures when renovating a home that might have lead paint.
Sharon Alva is a real estate agent with Alain Pinel, living in Alameda. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.