Comply with HUD Rules on Lead-Based Paint
Unless it has been removed by a professional lead abatement contractor or during normal renovation or painting, most housing that was built before 1978 has some painted surfaces with layers of old lead-based paint underneath. Because exposure to even small amounts of lead can be permanently harmful to health, federal, state, and local governments have put in place a number of laws and regulations you must abide by. In a three-part series, the Insider has been trying to keep you up to date on EPA and HUD requirements.
In June, we told you about the disclosure rules you must follow when leasing a unit in a building that was built before 1978 (“Lead Hazard Disclosure: Tell What You Know,” Insider, June 2009, p. 1). Last month, the feature story described the new requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on renovating and repainting older housing (“Comply with New EPA Rules When Renovating Older Housing,” Insider, July 2009, p. 1). In this final article, we discuss meeting HUD requirements for lead paint in subsidized multifamily housing.
Know Whether Lead-Paint Hazards Exist at Your Site
The most important thing is to be aware of your responsibilities before a resident complains of chipping or peeling paint or informs you of a child with high levels of lead in her blood. Your responsibilities are spelled out in detailed HUD rules, so you need to know what they are.
The good news, according to lead-based paint expert David E. Jacobs, is that even in housing built before 1940, most old paint is not lead-based paint. The bad news is that in older housing you don't know what old paint contains lead and what doesn't until you actually inspect and test for it.
Unless you have a certification that your pre-1978 building is entirely lead-free or you have permanently abated or removed all hazards, you have ongoing maintenance responsibilities under HUD rules. That's because with time and enough wear and tear, lead paint that was intact or that was previously stabilized may create harmful lead dust. If your site is free of lead paint, then the requirements (except disclosure) do not apply.
HUD requirements vary based on the type of assistance provided. The rules for multifamily sites subsidized under the Project-Based Section 8 Program differ from the rules for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Under regulations issued in 1999, owners of HUD-subsidized project-based properties built before 1978 were required to test their sites and address all lead-based paint hazards by 2003, either by controlling the hazardous areas or removing the hazards altogether.
You may think that a one-time review by 2003 is all you need. For many sites, though, this is not the case. HUD's regulations set ongoing requirements for some sites. You need to know what these requirements are.
Here is a summary of these requirements for HUD Project-Based Programs (including only Section 8, Section 236, Rent Supplement, Indian Housing Block Grant, Shelter Plus Care Section 202, and Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities). Note that state and local laws supplement HUD requirements, so be sure you know what these laws require as well.
Requirements for All Project-Based Sites
For all project-based properties not certified lead-free, the owner or manager must:
1. Provide the pamphlet “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” (available at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/brochure.htm) to a member of each new household moving in.
2. Follow disclosure rules when leasing units (see the June 2009 Insider).
3. Give a notice to residents of hazard reduction work and the results of evaluations (like paint testing, inspections, and risk assessments) and clearance exams. You may post the notice in a central common area and/or distribute it to each occupied dwelling unit affected.
4. Conduct ongoing lead-based paint maintenance and reevaluation as part of your regular building operations (unless you have a certification that there is no lead-based paint at the site or that it has all been removed). If you identify any new lead-based paint hazards, you must control or remove them. The goal of your regular maintenance is to identify any areas of deteriorated paint on interior and exterior surfaces that must be stabilized or restabilized.
If you have had lead abatement work completed in the past (unless all the lead paint was removed), your site maintenance plan must include conducting a visual assessment for deteriorated paint, bare soil, and the failure of previous hazard-reduction measures, at unit turnover and every 12 months. You must specifically look at areas of earlier encapsulation or enclosure of lead-based paint to see if any repair or follow-up work is necessary.
A new clearance examination (with resident notice) is required after any significant new abatement or paint stabilization work. If you have had any lead hazard work done in the past, you should have had a professional clearance examination completed at the end of the work to show that lead dust in the affected areas was under control. If you undertake any new hazard control work, you need a new clearance exam. (Remember that the clearance examination cannot be provided by the same firm that does the hazard control work.) According to Jacobs, the reason for the clearance exam is that lead dust is not always visible to the naked eye, and it is the smallest particles that are most easily taken into a child's body.
If your site has a previously identified and treated (but not removed) soil-lead hazard, you must ensure that soil is still adequately covered—for instance, by grass, sod, wood chips, gravel, or artificial turf.
You need reevaluation by a certified risk assessor if your visual assessment turns up any significant failures of encapsulations, enclosures, or other previous treatments. You also need to act if your routine site maintenance shows a new dust problem, soil that is newly bare, or newly deteriorating paint.
Unless you have abated all lead-based paint and no previous abatement treatment (like encapsulation or enclosure) has failed, you must have a reevaluation no later than two years from completion of initial hazard reduction. You must also have a reevaluation thereafter at intervals of two years, plus or minus 60 days. To be exempt from additional reevaluation, you must have at least two consecutive two-year reevaluations without finding lead-based paint hazards or a failure of an encapsulation or enclosure.
5. Respond to notifications of children with high lead levels in their blood. Under HUD rules, you must get a risk assessment of the child's unit completed within 15 days of being notified of the presence of a lead-poisoned child at your site, to determine if lead-based paint hazards exist in the unit. (Ask your local health department about conducting risk assessments.) The notification may come from a resident or from a health department or other health care provider. If the notification comes from a resident, you must ask the resident to provide written verification from a health provider. If the risk assessment shows there are lead-based paint hazards in the unit, you must correct them within 30 days of the completion of the risk assessment.
6. Follow the EPA Renovation Rule and safe work practices (described in the July 2009 Insider).
EDITOR'S NOTE: HUD regulations apply to the interior of units as well as to exterior surfaces and to common areas like hallways, entryways, playgrounds, and laundry rooms.
For Sites with More Than $5,000-per-Unit Assistance
For multifamily sites receiving an average of more than $5,000 in project-based assistance per assisted unit per year, the owner or manager must:
1. Have conducted a risk assessment by an EPA-certified assessor before September 2003 (regardless of whether a lead-poisoned child has been identified as a resident).
2. Treat the lead-based paint hazards identified in the risk assessment with interim controls. HUD's regulations define “interim controls” as treatments that are not permanent but that correct lead-based paint hazards for less than 20 years. The most common interim control is stabilization of deteriorated paint. Other interim controls include cleaning, temporary containment, treatment of friction and impact surfaces, dust control, and soil control.
If you use interim controls rather than permanent abatement, you must also perform ongoing maintenance of lead-based paint surfaces to ensure that the housing remains lead-safe. (You may elect abatement in lieu of an interim control. Abatement means a method of treatment that is expected to last for at least 20 years. Abatement methods include total removal of paint, replacement of painted building components, and enclosure or encapsulation of painted surfaces with an expected life of at least 20 years. Abatement also includes the removal or permanent covering of soil-lead hazards.)
HUD prohibits certain methods of paint removal because they are too dangerous and produce too much lead dust. These include power sanding, abrasive blasting, and open flame burning.
PRACTICAL POINTER: You must use certified lead paint firms to meet HUD and EPA requirements, so be sure anyone you work with has up-to-date certifications and the right experience to handle your site. To locate certified firms in your area, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
For Sites with Less Than $5,000-per-Unit Assistance
For multifamily properties receiving an average of less than $5,000 in project-based assistance per assisted unit per year, the owner or manager must:
1. Conduct visual assessments (looking for deteriorated paint and visible surface dust, debris, and residue).
2. Stabilize any deteriorated paint. Not all areas of lead-based paint are considered hazardous. Deteriorated paint, paint on friction surfaces that produces elevated dust lead levels, and damaged paint on accessible and chewable surfaces are hazards demanding attention. Paint-laden soil, often found beneath old windows, is also often hazardous. However, if an area of old paint is intact, inaccessible, free of friction and contact, and in good condition, it is not considered a hazard under HUD rules. The problem this non-hazardous paint presents for owners is that you have to continue to monitor it. Unless you have removed all lead paint from your site (or didn't have any to begin with), the regulations impose a burden on you to make sure it remains non-hazardous.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Housing exclusively for the elderly or persons with disabilities, unless a child under age 6 is expected to live there, is exempt from the HUD lead rules (except the disclosure rule). If a child lives there under an exception to occupancy rules, the lead regulation applies to the dwelling unit in which the child resides, any common areas serving that unit, and exterior painted surfaces associated with the dwelling unit or common areas. If you make numerous exceptions, HUD may consider your whole facility subject to its lead rules.
- Lead Safe Housing Rule and the Lead Disclosure Rule: 24 CFR Part 35, principally Subpart H
David E. Jacobs, Ph.D., CIH: Director of Research, National Center for Healthy Housing, 10320 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Ste. 500, Columbia, MD 21044; (410) 992-0712; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Search Our Web Site by Key Words: lead-based paint; hazardous conditions