Know the Law: Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting

Adam M. Dumville
Director and Vice Chair, Administrative Law Department
Photo of Shaune L. Hickson
Shaune L. Hickson
Associate, Administrative Law and Litigation Departments
Published: Union Leader
May 5, 2024

Q: As a landlord, how do I comply with lead-based paint (“LBP”) laws at my residential rental properties?

A: If you own residential rental property constructed pre-1978 (“Target Housing”), you must presume that the home contains LBP and you must comply with federal, State, and local lead laws.

Landlords of Target Housing must disclose to prospective tenants that the home may contain LBP by distributing a USEPA-approved pamphlet, which informs tenants about LBP hazards, its health risks, and methods for reducing exposure.  This notice must be provided again if a tenant renews their lease, or if you learn of the presence of LPB hazards, ensuring ongoing awareness of LBP.

If you are planning maintenance, repair, or construction work on Target Housing, you are required to comply the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (“RRP”) Rule.  The RRP Rule is a USEPA regulation that requires renovation or repair activities performed on Target Housing to be conducted by professionals who are trained to use lead-safe work practices. The RRP Rule applies if the work disturbs more than six square feet of interior painted surfaces, or twenty square feet of exterior painted surfaces.  RRP work should not be confused with the work of lead inspectors, risk assessors, or abatement contractors, all of which are governed by separate regulations.

RRP work must be performed by certified firms, using certified renovators.  As a landlord, you may seek your own RRP Firm Certification, and you may employ licensed renovators, who have passed an USEPA accredited RRP training course, to perform work on your rental properties.  Alternatively, USEPA maintains a list of licensed RRP Firms and Renovators.

It is important to be mindful of license expiration dates. To stay in compliance with federal law, ensure that your certified firm or renovator is re-certified at least every three or five years depending on the license and course taken.

Certified firms and/or renovators must: (1) educate tenants before RRP work begins, (2) use lead-safe work practices, and (3) perform post-work verifications.

Before starting renovation work, you must provide tenants with USEPA’s “Renovate Right Pamphlet” and document compliance.

Renovators must ensure that when work begins, they remain on-site, and they utilize lead-safe work practices, including, posting proper signage; containing the work area to prevent lead dust and debris from spreading; covering air ducts, flooring, windows, doors, and objects in the work area; and ensuring LBP waste is properly contained and disposed in compliance with federal and State laws.

Renovators are responsible for performing USEPA’s post-cleaning verification procedures.  Renovators should create detailed records of their compliance with all RRP work practice standards, among other recordkeeping requirements.

Certified RRP Firms, are required to keep all records necessary to demonstrate compliance with RRP rules for a period of three years after each renovation. Records include copies of renovator course certificates, LBP lab test kit results, documentation of compliance with pre-work education requirements, as well as safe work practices, among others.

State and federal agencies possess authority to inspect residential properties and enforce compliance. If you receive notice of a scheduled compliance inspection, it is advisable to engage legal counsel to assist you with navigating the process efficiently and effectively.


Know the Law is a bi-weekly column sponsored by McLane Middleton. Questions and ideas for future columns should be emailed to Know the Law provides general legal information, not legal advice. We recommend that you consult a lawyer for guidance specific to your particular situation.