If you Own (Or Are Thinking about Owning) a Home in Charlottesville Built Before 1978

Right now* in the Charlottesville MSA in the Charlottesville MLS, 2458 homes are for sale. 632 – or 26% – were built before 1978. So what?

EPA Lead-Safe Certification Program | Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil | US EPA.jpg

The EPA is about to enact/enforce a new law that will affect anyone who will be renovating, repairing or painting homes with lead based paint.

April 22, 2010 may go down as a day of …


… As may the acronym “RRP” for the “Renovation, Repair, Painting” rule.

Just more than half of the City of Charlottesville’s current “for sale” inventory will be affected by this new law, and nearly 28% of Albemarle County’s.

From NPR:

“The change in their workplaces could be dramatic.

Workers who can now wear shorts and T-shirts for a simple window replacement job will have to wear coveralls made of sturdy Tyvek fiber, respirators, goggles, hoods, rubber gloves and rubber boots.

Among numerous other safety requirements, workers will have to lay plastic sheeting around the work area, and post yellow “caution” tape as well as signs that say “Lead Poison Hazard: Do Not Enter.”

Dorsey says some of the requirements might go too far. He says two-thirds of the homes renovators work in have lead paint. And given that the industry is still struggling to survive the housing bust, “it’s going to take the construction industry out at the knees. Right now our industry is saddled with 25 to 27 percent unemployment,” he adds.”

Questions I have –

– How will my clients – buyers and sellers – be affected?

– What will this do to the renovation businesses?

– How will this impact HVAC companies and other contractors? (how many of Charlottesville area contractors are currently certified?)

– How many contractors in Charlottesville have completed this testing and are certified?

– Who is going to be doing the policing? A new government “paint police”?

Apparently there are (or may be) 249 “Lead-Safe Renovators” in the 22901 (Charlottesville) area:

Lead-Free Kids | Local Lead Resources.jpg

As a Realtor, I am now going to have to warn my clients about the prospect of increased expenses that they may be paying … what might this do to property values?

Fortunately, the NAR has a brief summary and video for Realtors summarizing the impact on Realtors. (PDF)

– There are no new disclosure compliance responsibilities, no new forms, or revisions to the existing disclosure forms. If any testing is done associated with any Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) activities, the results of that testing must be disclosed.

– The bulk of responsibility to comply with this new rule rests with contractors and remodelers. They must be trained and certified by EPA to conduct the new lead paint safe work practices while performing RRP activities in pre-1978 housing, by April 22, 2010.

Get ready.

Hiring someone to renovate your older home is about to become more complicated and expensive. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, contractors working on almost all homes built before 1978 must prove they have the Environmental Protection Agency’s stamp of approval to do the work — or face fines of up to $37,500 a day.

FAQ on the RRP from the EPA.GOV

Exemptions: These rules may be waived under the following conditions:
– The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978.
– The repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than six sq. ft. or exteriors disturbing less than 20 sq. ft.
– If the house or components test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector, or Certified Renovator.
– If the property owner is conducting the RRP work themselves.

It’s going to be interesting.




Nest’s Deborah Rutter has a great summary.

The Real Estate Bloggers have a tongue-in-cheek idea (that may soon be the reality):

Oh, and you want to ignore the rules, do the work in the dead of night and tell no one. Even pay cash for the supplies at Home Depot. You think I am kidding but if you get caught, the fines are as much as $37,500 a day.

From a Charlotte dBusinessNews press release:

Most people are aware of the dangers that exposure to lead-based paint can pose – it effects (sic) children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, and it can also lead to hypertension and high blood pressure in adults, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). What many homeowners may not realize is that a new EPA rule may cause the issue to balloon when they are undertaking even minor repairs.

The EPA’s new Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule takes effect April 22, 2010, and requires that all contractors (plumbers, painters, HVAC technicians, remodelers, etc.) working in a residence or facility built before 1978 where children are present must be an EPA Certified Renovator.


* Right now is 18 April 2010 at 11pm.

** In Albemarle – 1101 homes for sale, 294 were built before 1978. Charlottesville – 381 homes are for sale, 206 were built before 1978.

Update 23 May 2010: In the better-late-than-never department, the Daily Progress reports on the lead based paint rule changes.

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  1. Brian Broadus April 20, 2010 at 12:55

    What it might mean is that you should get the window painting and putty tested prior to getting the renovation pricing. Also, to be fair, window replacement is generally, though not universally, a bad plan. It might be easier and better to strip the sash and frame of lead-based paint, reinstall them, and then apply wooden storm windows. These have been tested by Livermore Laboratory and are nearly as effective as replacement windows. but can cost far less. They also protect against UV damage, lower outside noise, and (since they’re made of laminated glass) guard against impacts. But, there’s a lot of white lead paint out there. It’s an incredibly durable product, and its toxicity was a fungicide, and white paint stayed white.

  2. bob April 20, 2010 at 13:59

    The EPA’s new Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule takes effect April 22, 2010, and requires that all contractors (plumbers, painters, HVAC technicians, remodelers, etc.) working in a residence or facility built before 1978 where children are present must be an EPA Certified Renovator.

    Is the operative phrase here “where children are present”?

  3. Bill Fulton April 21, 2010 at 09:07

    I believe that the “children occupied” stipulation is an out for many situations. The EPA is estimating that the additional cost is only $35, but is that her window or per job? In the near term it could be an advntage for a contractor to ahve been qualified already.

  4. Deborah Rutter April 21, 2010 at 09:08

    For buyers that have a real concern and/or want to know how much/how thick lead paint is (and get a better removal estimate), I have suggested buyers get lead-paint testing done with a ‘gun’ apparatus that can detect lead paint that’s been either painted over (and can be missed by surface-only home kits) and can check multiple areas throughout the house on the spot without waiting for test results to come back–speeding up the inspection time-frame. It’s an expensive piece of equipment and some guns require certified training, etc. but it is the gold standard in terms of complete and immediate results. Below is a link to one of two guns I’ve seen used.



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