By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Last July, Governor Murphy signed a legislative package focused on prioritizing public health through a state-wide program to reduce New Jersey citizens’ exposure to lead paint. Establishing New Jersey as a national leader in lead poisoning prevention, the legislation recognizes lead as a dangerous neurotoxin that can impact a child’s memory and behavior, and specifically targets sources of home-based lead exposure.
At the time of the signing, local leaders emphasized the need for a common-sense approach to prevention. Among the three pieces of legislation signed on July 22, 2021, was S1147/A1372, now P.L. 2021 c. 182. It specifically outlines new and important requirements for municipalities and owners of residential rental properties.
Highlights of the new law include:
- The requirement that residential rental properties constructed prior to 1978 be inspected for lead-based paint hazards either within two years or upon tenant turnover, whichever is sooner.
- The requirement that after the initial inspection, units shall continue to be inspected either every three years or upon tenant turnover, whichever is sooner.
- The requirement that any hazard uncovered through inspection be properly abated or remediated.
- Certain exceptions, including an exemption for properties that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint, have received a lead-safe certification or were constructed during or after 1978.
- Compliance requirements for municipalities and penalties for those that do not comply.
- Penalties for a property owner’s failure to comply with inspection requirements not to exceed $1,000 per week until required inspections or remediation efforts have been completed.
- The creation of a state-wide ongoing education program regarding the nature of lead-based paint hazards, the importance of lead-based paint hazard control and mitigation, and the rights and responsibilities of interested parties including tenants and property owners.
You can find more information about lead-based paint inspections in residential rental properties, including guidelines, on the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs website.
If you are a residential real estate property owner and have questions regarding your rights and responsibilities related to lead-based paint inspections, remediation, and abatement, Contact Us.