New Jersey Lead Paint Law

Introduction to NJ Lead Laws

Introduction to NJ Lead Laws

The State of New Jersey has continued to tighten and advance laws on lead safety since lead was confirmed to be dangerous to human health in the 1970s.

On July 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed a new law on lead-based paints. The bill, known as the Lead Safe Certification Act, began to take effect on July 22, 2022.

If you live in or rent out a pre-1978 building in New Jersey, your unit needs a lead assessment by July 2024 (regardless of any turnover), or before any tenant turnover after July 2022 takes place.

To find out more about lead testing and inspections in New Jersey, read more below, explore our other articles on NJ lead, or contact AAA Lead Professionals.

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Guide to the Lead Safe Certification Act

If you own a rental property in New Jersey, you must have a primary prevention inspection process (visual risk assessment and dust wipes if necessary) and periodic re-inspections thereafter. These are to be conducted by a certified lead evaluation contractor, in order to determine whether there are lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling units.

  • A visual assessment means a visual examination by a certified lead evaluation contractor for “deteriorated paint, or visible surface dust, debris, or residue.”
  • See the Lead Safe Certification Act (P.L.2021, c.182) for more definitions and details.

If the unit is found to be lead-safe, it will receive Lead Safe Certification. The property must hold a valid Lead Safe Certification or be re-certified at the time of tenant turnover. Lead Safe Certifications are valid for two years from the date of issue.

Alternately, you may opt for a Lead Free Certification, which would satisfy the primary prevention inspection and eliminate the need for periodic re-inspections in this unit, but is not mandatory.

If the unit is found to contain lead-based paint hazards, the owner or landlord is responsible for hiring certified lead professionals to conduct lead abatement or engage in lead hazard control methods (in accordance with the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Act).

  • Your municipality has the right to enforce this Lead Safe inspection, and will require you to cover the fee.
  • You have the right to directly hire a certified lead contractor of your choosing to perform inspections.
  • You must keep copies of inspection records and provide these upon request.
  • See our Lead Paint Disclosure Form article for info on NJ requirements for real estate transactions.
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Does the Lead Safe Certification Act apply to my NJ property?

The Act applies to rental properties built before 1978 (when lead-based paints were federally banned).

All pre-1978 single-family, two-family, and multiple rental dwellings must be inspected for lead within two years of the effective date of this bill (therefore, July 22, 2024), or upon tenant turnover, whichever is sooner.

In municipalities where more than 3% of children under age 6 who were lead tested were found to have more than 5 ug/dL of lead in their blood, the lead evaluator must use dust-wipe sampling in the inspection. In other municipalities, where lead levels in less than 3% of tested children are found to be higher than 5 ug/dL of lead, a (primary prevention) visual inspection is satisfactory.

See the FAQ below for exemptions.

Deadline to abide by the Lead Safe Certificate Act

This bill came into effect in July 2022, and gives owners two years to obtain the initial inspection: you must have the unit found lead-safe by July 22, 2024 or upon tenant turnover (whichever is first).

After the first inspection, you must have your NJ rental properties inspected for lead hazards periodically. Future inspections must take place every three years or after two years upon tenant turnover (whichever is sooner), unless you choose to have the property certified as lead-free.

The AAA Guarantee

As a leading provider of certified lead evaluation contractor services in New Jersey and the greater Tri-State region, we’ve gained over a decade of experience in lead paint inspections, outstanding lead violations, lead-safe measures, and issuing valid lead-safe certificates to many different types of buildings.

We take pride in our meticulous attention to every detail of your case, our extensive field knowledge, and in treating your home and project with respect. AAA Lead Professionals is dedicated to achieving efficient, high-quality results for our clients in NJ and beyond.


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We offer lead paint consultations for New Jersey tenants, residents, landlords, property owners, and business owners, whether you’re based in North Jersey, Central Jersey, South Jersey, or the Jersey Shore. We also operate in NY, CT, and PA!


What is a Valid Lead Safe Certification?

After you hire a certified lead evaluation contractor, and they conduct a lead paint inspection, if your building is found to not contain lead-based paint hazards, you will be issued a valid lead safe certificate. These are valid for a period of two years, and are only valid if conducted by licensed professionals.

Lead safe certificates are a statement that the dwelling unit has been found to be safe in terms of lead exposure. If no lead hazards are found, your property is certified as lead-safe. If lead-based paint inspections find lead hazards in the units, certified lead abatement or hazard control methods must be conducted. Once the lead hazards are removed and a confirmation test is done, then it is considered lead-safe.

Your other option is to get a lead-free certification, which does not expire (see below).

What is the difference between lead-safe and lead-free?

Lead-safe certification is what’s required by this new law, and it means your property has been inspected visually (and with dust wipes in some municipalities as required) by a lead professional and found to contain no lead-based paint hazards, or that any lead hazards found were professionally remediated. Lead paint is more of a problem once it begins to deteriorate and becomes easily ingestible. Thus, the visual inspection checks for deteriorating and damaged paint.

Lead-free would mean your property has been confirmed with XRF lead testing to be completely free of lead-based paint. This is not required by law, but it can be more valuable to you in the long run as it is valid for the life of the property without expiry.

Who can conduct lead inspection, testing, and removal in NJ?

Lead-safe certifications required by the 2021 Lead Safe Certification Act can only be issued when the lead inspection, lead test, and any necessary lead removal (abatement) has been conducted by a certified lead professional.

Hazardous lead work in NJ is overseen and regulated by:

It is dangerous to handle lead yourself as an untrained person. Avoid disturbing potential lead hazards.

What is the difference between a lead risk assessment and lead inspection?

A lead risk assessment evaluates the property for elements that could pose a lead-based risk, namely dust, debris, or deteriorating paint that potentially contain lead.

A lead inspection means a process whereby a certified lead evaluation contractor investigates whether a property contains lead. It involves an inspection using an x-ray fluorescence gun to determine the presence of lead-based paint.

While an XRF-lead inspection is more thorough, the new Lead Safe Act only requires visual lead assessment to determine whether painted surfaces are in good or poor condition and/or in a high-impact location (except in municipalities which require the use of dust wipe samples).

If your painted surfaces are in damaged condition or liable to be damaged due to the location of the surface, that is considered a lead-based paint hazard, and it will need to be remediated (fixed) before your property can be given a Lead Safe Certification.

How do I know if paint is lead-based?

There is no way to visually determine the presence of lead or lead dust. You must have a professional inspection and test, using methods such as XRF (x-ray fluorescence) testing and lab sampled dust wipes.

Under NJ law, you must assume any pre-1978 paint is lead-based paint if you have not had it tested. Thus, any deteriorating painted surface is considered a lead paint hazard.

If you are unsure what kind of lead assessment or inspection you need, or whether you need one at all, don’t hesitate to give us a call for your lead services consultation.

What counts as deteriorating painted surfaces?

Any painted surfaces could potentially contain lead, but it’s a much bigger concern when the paint is in a damaged or deteriorated state. Problems your lead evaluator will look for include:

  • Peeling, bubbled, cracked, chalking, or warped paint
  • Paint chips or flakes
  • Dust, debris, or other residue on walls and surfaces

Lead paint is also more dangerous in a location where it’s likely to receive friction and impact, or where a child is likely to be able to chew or otherwise ingest lead particles, such as:

  • Doors, door jambs or frames
  • Window sashes and frames, windowsills
  • Railings, banisters, stairs
  • Corners, baseboards, porches
What types of NJ properties are exempt from P.L. 2021, c.182?

The following categories of NJ dwelling units are exempt from the LSC Act:

  • Short-term temporary rentals (single or two-family seasonal rentals with tenancy durations of six months or less, with no consecutive lease renewals).
  • If your building has been registered as a multiple rental dwelling for at least 10 years, and had no lead violations or findings of lead paint in your last two 5-year cyclical inspections pursuant to the Hotels and Multiple Dwelling Law.
  • If your unit has been certified to be free of lead-based paint.
  • If the building was constructed during or after 1978.
  • If your unit’s existing Lead Safe Certification is still valid.

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