Lead Free vs Lead Safe Certification in NJ

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What do lead-free and lead-safe mean?

In New Jersey, these refer to lead paint certificates.

The regulations about lead hazards in NJ and their terminology can be confusing.

Here’s a guide to their definitions from the friendly lead experts at AAA Lead Pro.

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Lead-free” and “lead-safe” refer to the two kinds of lead paint certificates for dwellings in NJ.

  • Lead-free: a property is professionally certified with an XRF inspection as containing no lead paint.
  • Lead-safe: a property is professionally certified with a visual inspection (and dust wipe if required) as containing no active lead paint hazards.

Learn more about the certificates below to see which regulations apply to your property.

What is an NJ Lead Free Certificate?

It is a certificate confirming that a building does not contain any lead paint. To obtain a Lead-Free Certificate, NJ requires that:

  • A property is found to be completely free of lead-based paint.
  • The inspection is done by a DCA-certified lead evaluation contractor or firm.
  • It is an XRF lead inspection.

This certificate is valid for the life of the property and never needs to be renewed.

This means the cyclical re-inspection requirements will not apply – you don’t need the property to be continually inspected every few years.

Do I need a Lead Free certification? 

  • It is not mandatory to obtain a lead-free certificate.
  • NJ’s new laws only require your pre-1978 rental dwelling to be certified as lead-safe.
  • However, it can save you time and money in the long run.
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What is an NJ Lead Safe Certificate?

It is a certificate that a building does not contain active lead paint hazards. To obtain a Lead-Free Certificate, NJ requires that:

  • A property is confirmed to be safe from lead-based paint hazards, meeting lead safety standards.
  • The inspection is done by a DCA lead safe certified firm or contractor.
  • It involves a visual inspection.
  • It involves a dust wipe test in certain municipalities.

This certificate is valid for two years. It needs cyclical renewal: after two or three years, depending on tenant turnover.

Do I need a Lead Safe Certification?

If you are a rental owner in New Jersey:
Yes, the lead certificate requirements apply to most rental properties.


  • NJ rental properties must be certified as lead-safe before July 2024 or even earlier in some cases.
  • The certificate must be cyclically renewed.
  • You also need this to obtain a rental certificate of occupancy!
  • See our NJ Lead Paint Laws page for details and exemptions.
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If you own your home or rent from someone else:


  • It’s not mandatory to certify your home as lead-safe.
  • It can help with repairs, renovations, and selling the home.
  • We recommend it in pre-1978 homes for resident health.


Certified Lead Inspection in NJ

Where do I get a Lead Safe Certification?

Our certified lead experts are happy to help with your rental property, home, or commercial space.

AAA Lead Professionals is a top environmental services company in New Jersey, with over 14 years of experience in lead safe inspections and lead abatement.

We pride ourselves on our meticulous standards and premium customer service.

Schedule a lead consultation today!

Have questions about lead safety certification? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


What is the New Jersey Lead Safe Certification Act?

Aiming for a “lead safe NJ”, the new NJ Lead-Safe Certification Act (P.L.2021, c.182) requires that rental properties in New Jersey must be lead-safe certified before July 22, 2024.

This includes all single-family, two-family, and multiple-dwelling rental housing with limited exceptions.

What’s the difference between lead-free and lead safe?

“Lead-free” and “lead-safe” are both lead paint certifications for properties, with different requirements as outlined above. Here’s a comparison of their key differences:

  • Meaning:
    “Lead-free” means no lead paint is present at all. “Lead-safe” means the dwelling may contain lead but doesn’t contain any active lead paint hazards.
  • Value:
  • A Lead-Safe Certificate is valid for two years, while a Lead-Free Certificate is valid for the life of the property.
  • Test Method:
    A Lead-Free Certificate requires XRF inspection, while a Lead-Safe Certificate only requires visual inspection (and in certain cases, dust wipe sampling).

Speak to a AAA team member to find out which certification is best for your property!

Who can issue Lead-Free and Lead Safe Certificates in NJ?
  • The inspection must be done by an NJ-licensed inspector and/or risk assessor.
  • They must be working for a licensed lead evaluation firm.
Who can conduct repairs if lead paint or lead hazards are found on my property?

Selecting a Lead Safe Contractor:

In order to inspect for or remediate lead hazards to achieve Lead-Safe Certification, you need to find a professional lead service provider. It is illegal to hire unqualified workers to inspect, remove, or disturb lead paint.

In New Jersey, contractors and firms conducting work involving lead-based paint must be officially certified to work with lead.

Check for:

  • EPA Certification:
    Hire EPA Lead Safe certified contractors.
  • Appropriate licenses and certification from the DCA and DOH:
    the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and New Jersey Department of Health.
  • Training in OSHA Lead Safe Work Practices:
    Workers must complete a LSWP course for safety knowledge before they can start any lead job.
  • Note the EPA RRP Rule:
    The Environmental Protection Agency requires that Renovation, Repair, and Painting activities be conducted by a lead-certified renovator.

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