Lead Paint in Parking Lot
Question: During a lead inspection I checked the painted parking lot stripes and found high lead levels. Was I required to check this and what should I do with the information?
Caller was a lead inspector who was hired to determine the presence of lead-based paint (LBP) in an apartment complex. Because we had mentioned the use of yellow lead chromate pigments in outdoor situations, thon had decided to check the stripes. Having found that lead was indeed present, thon was uncertain what to do with the information.
You should have tested it and you must report it.
Do I have to check? If you contract to do an inspection, you are signing on to perform a "surface-by-surface" investigation for the presence of LBP. In the HUD Guidelines, Chapter 7 ("Inspection"), HUD and EPA make clear that the "surfaces" to be checked includes not only those found inside the dwelling units but also common and exterior spaces. EPA and HUD have made clear in their guidance that they consider any part of the exterior property on which "target housing" sits and which is coated with "paint, shellac, varnish, wallpaper, or other coating" to be an exterior space requiring testing for the presence of LBP. Thus, the parking lot stripes do qualify as exterior spaces.
That being the case, you must include them in any inspection performed for HUD and on any contract work which you agree to do by the HUD Guidelines.
Do I have to tell? Part of the definition of an inspection is "preparing a report of the results of your investigation. In this report you must disclose any LBP or lead hazards you identified whether or not it was within your scope of work. Failure to do so could make you liable for having withheld information that could have protected someone at the property. Note, though, that if the discovery was outside the scope of work, it can be submitted as a separate letter rather than as a part of the official report.
It is also important that you inform your client that all LBP or lead hazards which you document must be provided to prospective tenants or buyers of the property, and in HUD properties must be disclosed to existing occupants in the Notice of Lead Inspection or Notice of Lead Risk Assessment.
An experienced HUD inspector told me that thon had been told (by Washington HUD) not to inspect paint stripes on parking lots or ball courts. Thus, although HUD does not say so in the Guidelines, you should always clarify with the owner before beginning about whether to include these areas.
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