EPA Expands Lead Paint Rules for Property Management Companies

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signaled one of the largest potential expansions of the Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting rules by effectively classifying Property Management Companies (PMC) as contractors.

Effective March 21, 2022 the EPA has withdrawn two frequently asked questions from their website offering guidance on the obligations of Property Management Companies when renovating, repairing or maintaining pre-1978 residential rental properties potentially making them responsible for ensuring lead-safe work practices are used…even when using vendors to do the work.

Background

Effective April 22, 2010 any firm that “performs, offers or claims to perform renovations” in pre-1978 residential housing and child occupied facilities was required to be Certified. The process for certification required:

  • A responsible individual, either an owner or employee, be individually certified as a Lead Certified Renovator by attending a one-day class on lead-safe work practices and
  • Registering the firm, company or organization as a Lead Certified Firm with either the EPA or state.

If the Property Management Company uses their own employees to perform any maintenance or renovation work, they needed to have taken the steps above and documented that all of the EPA rules for Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting were followed.  

However, via the clarifying Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the EPA has taken the position for over a decade that as long as the Property Management Company:

  1. Does not do the maintenance work in-house using their own employees and
  2. Hires Lead Certified Firms as vendors who use Lead Certified Renovators to perform the work

the PMC does not need to be a Lead Certified Firm and the vendors would be responsible for compliance.

So What Has Changed

All this changes with the removal of these FAQ and the EPA explained their logic in the published Federal Register remarks proposing these changes (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/04/2021-24010/withdrawal-of-two-answers-to-frequent-questions-about-property-management-companies-and-the-toxic)

The EPA’s Notice takes the new position that the following activities “may establish that a PMC is performing a renovation for compensation and must comply with the RRP rule, even if the PMC uses an independent contractor or vendor instead of its own employees to do the specific activities that disturb paint surfaces.” These activities would include but are not limited to:

  • Soliciting and evaluating vendor bids;
  • Granting vendors access to the property;
  • Overseeing vendor work on the property;
  • Informing tenants of renovation activity;
  • Verifying completion of renovation activity; or
  • Remitting payment to the vendors.

What Does This Mean to Property Management Companies?

By withdrawing these FAQs and explaining the types of actions that “may trigger compliance obligations” for PMCs the EPA has made clear that they are intending to apply the Lead RRP Rules much more broadly against PMCs then ever before.

Simply choosing a vendor, giving them access to the property and paying the vendor will require the PMC to:

  • Have a Lead Certified Renovator on staff and
  • Be registered as a Lead Certified Firm with either the EPA or the state.

The PMC may also be held responsible for the overall compliance of the project even though they are not doing the actual work themselves. This approach mirrors the EPA’s enforcement approach towards General Contractors (GC) and their Sub-Contractors (Subs). All GCs are required to be Certified to perform or even bid on work in pre-1978 buildings even if they do not do the actual work themselves and strictly use Subs to do the work.

The potential fines for failure to comply can be in excess of $40,000 per day and companies like Lowes, Home Depot and Sears Home Improvements have received fines ranging from $400,000 to $20,750,000 for repeated violations.

These rules have also targeted individuals flipping homes because they often renovate prior to selling. Whether this work is done by the individual flipping, their own in-house employees or vendors/sub-contractors all parties have been required to be Certified.

What is unclear is how this will affect realtors coordinating renovations on behalf of sellers.

How can Property Management Companies Protect Themselves?

This may require a significant shift in in thinking on the part of Property Management Companies.

Nothing has changed If the PMC does maintenance or renovation work in-house. Since 2010:

  • Any employees or staff performing the work in pre-1978 properties are required to be Certified Renovator or trained by a Certified Renovator who is either an owner or an employee of the firm and cannot be a vendor or sub-contractor.
  • To become a Certified Renovator the individual must take an in-person, eight (8) hour class. You can find your closest class here www.LeadClasses.com.
  • The Property Management Company, firm or organization must be registered as a Lead Certified Firm by either the EPA or authorized state. This is done by paying a fee and submitting the proper application. The application will be provided in the Certified Renovator class.  

If the PMC hires vendors or contractors to do maintenance and renovation work, likely some changes in procedures will be required. Just as a PMC currently vets vendors and verifies licenses, insurance, workers compensation coverage, etc. they will now need to verify the vendor is a Lead Certified Firm with Certified Renovator(s) on staff. Best practices would suggest obtaining copies of both the Firm Certificate and all Individual Certificates for the individuals working on the property.

The PMC should obtain copies of all documentation as required by the EPA Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules and must keep them for three years after the completion of the project.

The PMC will also need to become Lead Certified. There are two steps:

  1. Either the owner or responsible employee of the PMC will need to take the Lead Certified Renovator Class. Find the closest class at www.LeadClasses.com
  2. Register the PMC as a Lead Certified Firm. Applications and links will be provided in the class. IMPORTANT: Do not try and register the PMC as a Lead Certified Firm until there has been an individual who has successfully completed the class above.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out us at info@LeadClasses.com or 1-888-840-8388.

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EPA Fines Five Kansas & Missouri Contractors for Lead Paint Violations

Five Kansas & Missouri remodeling and renovation contractors have agreed to pay the EPA nearly $132,000 in fines and penalties due to violations of the EPA Lead Based Paint Remodeling, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. 

The EPA claims the following companies did not comply with the lead-safe work practices required during renovations:

  • Brasstacks Inc. – Kansas City, KS
  • CertaPro Painters – Florissant, MO
  • Chaney Windows & Doors, LLC – Maryland Heights, MO
  • Two States Exteriors, LLC – Kansas City, KS
  • Window Nation, LLC – Lenexa, KS

All companies, organizations, and individuals that perform or offer to perform renovation work in virtually all pre-1978 buildings are required to be Certified and must have individuals on staff that have attended a one-day Lead Certification Class. 

Lead-Safe work practices designed to minimize, contain and clean-up lead contaminated dust must be used. Fines for not being Certified can be as much as $40,000 per day / per violation.

To get Certified, just click on your closest city below, chose your date and register online:

 

 

 

For more information or to see the EPA Press Release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-fines-kansas-and-missouri-home-renovators-lead-based-paint-violations

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Chip & Joanna Gaines to Pay $200,000 for EPA Lead Paint Violations

Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the HGTV hit show, Fixer Upper, settled with the EPA for alleged Lead Paint Violations.

Their company, Magnolia Homes, agreed to settle with the EPA by paying a fine of $40,000 and performing $160,000 in lead-abatement projects in homes or child-occupied facilities with an outside independent abatement firm.

The EPA was asking for lead paint fines of $795,080 and accusing the company of 187 violations in 33 vacant home renovation projects completed prior to December 2015. Alleged violations included:

  • Lack of Firm Certification,
  • Failure to deliver the Renovate Right to the homeowner prior to beginning work,
  • Failure to assign a Certified Renovator to the job,
  • Failure to Contain the Work Area,
  • Failure to Contain Waste, and
  • Failure to Document Lead-Safe Work Practices

According to the EPA, “shortly after being contacted by the EPA three years ago, Magnolia Homes took immediate steps to bring its activities into compliance.”

Magnolia Homes also implemented a compliance program including a “renovation record-keeping checklist for use by their staff and subcontractors.”

Despite their efforts to cooperate with the EPA, fines were demanded.

How to Protect Yourself

Could your company withstand this type of scrutiny? Afford the legal bills? Ask yourself:

  • How is your documentation?
  • Are your workers trained?
  • Are your subcontractors Certified?
  • Is your Firm Certification current?
  • Do you have your records for the last 3 years?

You can access the pre-renovation notification, all of the paperwork to document your jobs and the links to register your company as a Certified Firm at https://www.leadclasses.com/forms-downloads/

This is your insurance and best of all, it’s 100% free.

If you need a class for any of your team you can find your closest class at www.LeadClasses.com

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Post Hurricane Lead Paint Cleanup

How to deal with Lead Based Paint during Emergency Renovations and Repairs

  • Do you have a plan for dealing with emergency renovations that may disturb Lead Paint?
  • What about when the EPA sends teams of enforcement officers after there is a natural disaster?
  • Could you be subject to the $37,500 EPA RRP Lead Paint Fines just for helping out your neighbors?

The following brief video will give you the exact details of how to deal with the EPA’s RRP Lead Based Paint rules in a hurricane, natural disaster or any emergency renovations and repairs.

Emergency Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rules

The EPA defines an emergency as the following:

Any “situation necessitating immediate action to address safety, health hazards or threats of significant damage to equipment and/or property.”

As contractors, relief workers or anyone participating in the cleaning up it relieves us of the responsibility to:

  • Provide the Renovate Right Brochure prior to doing any work,
  • Place Signs
  • Use Containment

However, we must follow the clean-up protocol and cleaning verification and all of the recordkeeping requirements still apply.

What We Must Do to Minimize Our Risk

Click Here for copies of all of the Recordkeeping Paperwork you received in your class. Use them to document that your work was an emergency and the specific things that you were not able to do including;

  • Containment,
  • Having a Certified Renovator on the job site,
  • Posting signs,
  • Having a HEPA Vac on-site,
  • Containing the waste, etc.

Document exactly what steps you did do to protect the residents or occupants:

Make sure that you give the client copies of your Test Kit Form and Post Job Report no more than 30 days after completion or with the final invoice.

Finally, keep a copy of all of your documentation for a minimum of three years and you’ll be able to withstand any EPA enforcement actions today and for years to come.

 

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BREAKING NEWS: EPA Issues Fine to Sears Home Improvement

On September 28th, Sears Home Improvement reached a settlement for $400,000 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over failure to follow the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules (RRP Rules) regarding lead-safe work practices in homes built before 1978.

From 2013 to 2015 the EPA identified over 96 renovations where Sears Home Improvement was unable to provide documentation of the Lead Safe Work Practices followed or provide proof that the contractors assigned to each job had successfully received RRP Lead Paint Certification as required by the EPA.

Protect yourself, your family, and your business by finding a class near you today.

Select Your Closest Class & Get Certified in Just 1 Day – 100% Guaranteed

 

Click here to read the full statement by the EPA.

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EPA Extends RRP Certificates (or at least some of them)

On October 8, 2014 the EPA sent a memo to all Lead Paint Renovation, Repair & Painting trainers extending the 5 year certification for some Certified Renovators.

EPA Certified Renovator certification is good for 5 years from the date the course was completed, but…

If you were certified Before April 22, 2010, your Certificate is extended to July 1, 2015.

This means that if your Lead RRP Certificate expires prior to April 22, 2015 you can take the 4 hour Refresher Re-Certification Training Class any time before July 1, 2015 to renew your certification.

However, if your certificate expires after April 22, 2015 you must take the Refresher Class before the expiration date. If your certificate expires, then you must take the 8 hour Initial RRP Certification Class.

To further complicate things, the State of Oregon has refused to extend the certificates and still is requiring Certified Renovators to take the Refresher Training before their certificate expiration date.

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