If you own rental properties in the city of Philadelphia, you may have trouble renewing your rental license if you do not have a Lead Free or Lead Safe Certification. Starting in October, 2020, some zip codes within the city required one of these certificates in order to renew your license. All zip codes will require this by April of 2022.
Lead Free Certifications can be cost prohibitive to get, unless your building was built after 1978. Most people are going with a Lead Safe Certificate. These can be obtained through a 3rd party inspector. We like Better Home’s Lead testing at www.aleadtest.com . If you live outside of Philadelphia and are concerned about lead in your rental property or home, these same inspectors can do a test for you.
Prior to performing the test, we recommend you or your property manager walk through the property and check all common hallways and living areas for any chipping, cracked, or peeling paint. You will need to have this sealed ahead of the test. For any areas with a very small amount of chipping paint, you can chip away any lose edges, sand, and spot paint. For larger areas, you may want to take time to repaint the whole room. Be sure to check if your contractor has EPA Certification for dealing with lead paint, so you are not exposing your tenants to dust from the process. Be sure to give everything an extra wipe-down, even after the paint work is completed.
On the day of the test, the inspector will come to your home and first perform a visual inspection, looking for any chipped or cracked paint. Next, they will do a swipe of the dust in various areas such as floors and windowsills and send it off to a lab.
Typically you will get your results back in 1-2 weeks from the time of the tests.
If your property is due for a test soon, we highly recommend starting this process a few months in advance to be sure you have plenty of time to make any needed repairs and get your tests scheduled. You can find a table of when lead tests are due in each Philadelphia zip-code here: https://www.phila.gov/2019-10-22-rental-property-lead-certification-law/