Lead-Based Paint Regulations

HUD requires that homes built before 1978 and to be occupied by children under the age of six, have no deteriorated or peeling paint inside or out. The Lead-Safe Housing Rule is designed to protect property owners, their employees and their tenants from lead poisoning. To reduce the exposure to young children, current regulations emphasize reducing lead in house dust.

Housing Program inspectors visually check interior and exterior painted surfaces, including those in living spaces, stairways, fences and garages. The inspectors will look for any signs of deteriorated paint, such as peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking.

We strongly urge you to regularly inspect your property and remove any defective paint, using the guidelines below, before an HQS inspection. Good maintenance is the easiest way to prevent paint problems from occurring.

If deteriorated paint is found, you must perform “paint stabilization” using “safe work practices.” The Housing Program is committed to making the paint stabilization process, should it be necessary, as easy as possible and will assist in providing information and resources to you at your request.

Paint Stabilization

  • All interior and exterior deteriorated paint must be removed or encapsulated, and where paint is removed, the area must be repainted.
  • Damaged surfaces underneath the paint must also be repaired.
  • A person trained and certified in safe work practices must perform all of the work. This person must have successfully completed the Remodeler’s and Renovator’s Lead-Based Paint Training Course or Safe Work Practices Training Course approved by HUD. This work also involves the use of specialized equipment, including respirators and vacuum cleaners equipped with high efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) filters.
  • The owner must ensure and certify that paint stabilization was conducted with safe work practices, including occupant protection and work site preparation and cleanup. The site should be sealed off with plastic sheeting during work. The site should be cleaned thoroughly before Section 8 participants occupy it.
  • The unit must pass a clearance examination that includes 1) a visual assessment of the affected area and 2) surface wipe samples of affected rooms, sent to a lab to determine the presence of lead on floors, windowsills and troughs. The Housing Authority will conduct the clearance testing. If the work site was not properly contained, then the entire unit must pass clearance. If the work area was properly sealed off, testing can be conducted just on the work site and area immediately outside the containment.
  • The owner must provide notification to the occupants in writing of the hazard reduction activities and the result of the clearance or any other testing completed on the unit.
  • The owner must conduct ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the unit to prevent lead hazards.

De Minimis Levels: Safe work practices and clearance are not required when maintenance and hazard reduction activities disturb painted surfaces that total less than (a) 20 square feet on exterior surfaces (this is an area about 4 feet 6 inches on each side); (b) 2 square feet in any one room or space (this is a square about 17 inches on each side); or (c) 10 percent of the total surface area on an interior or exterior component with a small surface area such as a window sill or molding.

The Housing Authority may exempt from stabilization requirements defective paint surfaces determined not to be lead-based by a state-certified lead-based paint risk assessor or lead paint inspector.

Lead-Based Paint Resources

Other resources for information about lead-based paint regulations are:

HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. You can e-mail questions to lead_regulations@hud.gov.

National Lead Information Center

National Center for Healthy Housing

Environmental Protection Agency