New Jersey banned the use of lead-based paint in 1972 and the federal government banned its use in residential properties in 1978. Still, when the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Act was passed in 2003, there were about two million New Jersey homes that were constructed prior to 1978, before the use of lead paint was banned.
Why is this important?
When lead paint peels and cracks, it makes chips and dust. Any surface covered with lead-based paint where there is friction is likely to cause lead dust, including windows, doors, floors, porches, stairways, and cabinets. Children can be exposed to lead if they chew on surfaces coated with lead-based paint, such as window sills and door edges. They can also be exposed if they eat flaking paint chips or eat or breathe in lead dust. Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health.
Inspections for lead-based paint must take place by July 22, 2024
All rental dwellings that are required to be inspected for lead-based paint must be inspected within two years of the effective date of the law, July 22, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier. “Tenant turnover” is after everyone moves out, and all new tenants move into the unit. This means that the first inspection must take place no later than July 22, 2024.
After the initial inspection, all units must be inspected for lead-based paint hazards every three years, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier, unless the landlord already has a valid lead-safe certificate. Lead-safe certificates are valid for two years. If the lead-safe certificate has expired and there will be a tenant turnover, an inspection will be necessary before the three-year inspection.
In all scenarios, the next inspection should be scheduled three years from the date of issuance of the most recent valid lead-safe certification.
Certain rental units are exempt from these changes
Rentals that do not have to be inspected within two years or upon tenant turnover include:
What is the process for inspection?
The required inspection process depends on the risk factors within the community, measured by the percentage of children six and under who have a blood lead level greater than or equal to five micrograms per deciliter.
In municipalities where less than three percent of children tested have a blood lead level greater than or equal to five micrograms per deciliter, the inspection may be carried out through visual inspection.
In municipalities where at least three percent of children tested have a blood lead level greater than or equal to five micrograms per deciliter, the inspection must be carried out through dust wipe sampling.
See 2022-23 Lead-Based Paint Inspection Methodology Pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182 (from the NJ Department of Community Affairs) to find out what is required where you live.
What do I do if lead paint is found?
You have rights. Please see our guide Tenants’ Rights in New Jersey. If someone tests positive for lead paint poisoning you may have a personal injury claim against your landlord. Seek legal assistance to discuss all of your options.
This information last reviewed: Oct 4, 2022