By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Aug. 4 introduced an ordinance amending its municipal code for rental properties to ensure children are safe from the dangers of lead-based paints.
According to a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last year, municipalities must perform, or require landlords to certify there are no lead hazards to children in rental properties.
According to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health, approximately 434,000 children in the U.S. aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than the CDC recommended level of 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.
Lead poisoning, which is preventable but often goes unrecognized, can affect nearly every system in the body and causes learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and in extreme cases, seizures, coma and even death.
Ordinance 14-2022 would require landlords to present a certification report to the municipality that the rental property was evaluated and deemed to be free of lead-based paint hazards whenever they file a rental registration or whenever a new tenant moves into the rental property. If the landlord does not provide the required certification report within 30 days, the city may do the inspection or retain a qualified inspector to perform the inspection, and file a municipal lien against the property.
Should a report identify a lead-based paint hazard, the owner will be required to remediate the hazard and present the city with a reinspection certificate. Notification of a positive result will be filed with the NJ Department of Community Affairs.
According to Construction Code Official Jim Galantino, the new state law went into effect on July 2.
“All rentals must be inspected within two years,” he said.
Because much of the city’s housing stock has been updated since 1978 when lead-based paint was outlawed, the city will only be required to do a visual inspection for older properties to look for for cracking, peeling paint that could be ingested by a child. Highrise apartments are exempt because they are inspected by the state, Galantino said.
“We feel we have this well under control, but the realtors are trying to figure what to do because there is a lead-based paint certification that would have to be provided to us by a lead-based paint inspector certified by the State of New Jersey,” he said. “We feel a lot of the buildings in Margate past 1978 have been renovated once or twice, and most of the houses that are older than that have been removed and we are getting new homes.”
Other municipalities, such as Ventnor City, which has an older housing stock, may be required to perform dust wipe sampling, he said.
Anyone who has questions about lead-based paint inspections can call Jim Galantino at the Building Department, 609-822-1974.
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