This article was posted on Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017

The previous article warns us of imposed fines for not following the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. 

If your property was built before 1978, lead based paint was most likely used in its original construction. As an owner, hopefully, you are well aware of the dangers of lead based paint, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) law that affects you.

The Law

EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.

The EPA instituted the law on April 22, 2010 due to the dangers of lead, especially for children. The law requires contractors and maintenance professionals to be certified, and their employees trained. In addition, they must follow protective lead-safe work practice standards when renovation, repair or painting activities will disturb more than six square feet of lead-based paint in a room or when 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior. Two-thirds of homes and half of the schools and day care centers built before 1960 have some lead-based paint.

Lead is most often found around door frames, window sills, stairs, railings, porches and fences. Simply vacuuming or sweeping can circulate lead throughout homes. This is particularly dangerous for children as lead dust can land on toys, remote controls, and other items children touch and put in their mouths. Renovations disturbing lead based paint include:

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  • General construction
  • Painting renovations
  • Routine maintenance
  • Window and door repair or replacement
  • Residential projects involving sanding, scraping, heating or power washing of painted surfaces 

Renovate Right Brochure

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating more than six square feet of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects or window replacement or demolition in housing, child care facilities and schools built before 1978.

  • You must give this pamphlet to tenants before starting work.
  • Child care facilities, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms, and the families of children under six years of age that attend those facilities: renovators must provide a copy of this pamphlet to child care facilities and general renovation information to families whose children attend those facilities.

This pamphlet is available to AOA members and may be downloaded FREE by visiting  It is called the EPA Lead Base Paint Renovate Right Brochure.

Always Use a Certified Lead Contractor

Though it may be tempting to do home renovations yourself, remember by spreading lead in an uncontained manner you are putting families and neighborhoods at great risk. Painting over lead based paint with regular paint is not good enough.

To permanently remove lead hazards, the EPA requires you to hire a certified lead abatement contractor. Certified contractors employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules governed by the State of California and the federal government.

AOA offers RRP Certification and RRP Refresher Courses throughout the year.  If you are not lead-safe certified, disturbing just six square feet could cost you big time!  Non-compliance with the rule can lead to fines of up to $37,500 per violation, per day!!


Patricia A. Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners Association News and Buyers Guide.