On December 21, 2011, Mayor Nutter signed into law new requirements for renters of certain residential housing to inspect for and remediate harmful lead paint conditions. At covered properties, these costs would range from at least $500 for an inspection to perhaps tens of thousands of dollars for remediation. The bill additionally provides significant penalties for noncompliance. The Bill contains the following essential elements:
New Requirements Applicable to “Targeted Housing,” Effective December 21, 2012:
Bill 100011-A applies new requirements to the rental of “Targeted Housing,” which is residential rental property built before March 1978 with several significant exceptions. It excludes:
- units in which children 6 and under will not reside during the lease term.
- student housing owned or built by educational institutions,
- buildings leasing entirely to college or university students,
- PHA owned or subsidized units,
- units leases under the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program (“Section 8”), and
The intent of these exclusions was to recognize that lead paint largely impacts children under six; therefore, property owners – and ultimately renters – should not bear the significant inspection and remediation costs if children under six are not expected to occupy the property. Additionally, the bill excludes seeks to avoid unnecessarily passing down those significant costs to tenants who could not afford them.
When entering into a lease, lessors renting “Targeted Housing” must provide lessee and the Department of Public Health with a certification from a certified lead inspector stating that the property is lead safe (good for 2 years) or lead free (good permanently). Lessors shall annually certify compliance or be subject to revocation of their housing inspection license.
Lessor must advise lessee of Targeted Housing to periodically inspect for and notify lessor of deteriorated paint, and must promptly make necessary repairs. If a City inspection finds lessor failed to conduct a required inspection, lessor will be liable to the City for the costs of an inspection and penalties of up to $2000 per offense.
The bill provides new damages related to Targeted Housing: lessee can seek an order requiring lessor to inspect for and remediate lead paint harms, reimburse damages, pay up to $2000 in exemplary damages, refund rents paid during noncompliance, and pay attorneys fees and costs.
Unchanged Requirements for Housing Constructed Before 1978:
The bill retains the obligation of sellers and lessors to advise buyers and lessees of residential housing constructed before 1978 that either an inspection revealed lead based paint, or the buyer or lessee should assume the house contains lead based paint. Both get notice in their contract, but under the Bill only buyers also get a statement and pamphlet.
For all pre-1978 housing, the bill retains the right of new lessees and buyers to a 10 day period to test for lead paint, and the buyer’s right to 5 more days to terminate. It changes existing lessees’ right to terminate, providing a 10 day period for lessees to notify of intent to vacate, and 90 days thereafter to vacate. The bill retains existing damages for violations of the above: a buyer is entitled to twice the cost of a lead inspection, plus attorneys fees and costs, and injunctive relief.