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New Law: New Jersey Lead-Based Paint Inspections in Rental Dwelling Units – Effective: July 22, 2022

In accordance with a new lead-based inspection law, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has issued guidelines and a frequently asked questions page (links below). The law requires that all rental dwelling units (required to be inspected) must be inspected for lead-based paint within two years of the law taking effect on July 22, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier. This means that the first inspection must take place no later than July 22, 2024. This new law is not currently tied to time-of-sale requirements.

After the initial inspection, all units shall be inspected for lead-based paint hazards every three years, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier. An inspection upon tenant turnover is not required if the owner has a valid lead-safe certificate. Lead-safe certificates are valid for two years. If the lead-safe certificate has expired, and there will be a tenant turnover, an inspection will be necessary before the three-year inspection.

In all scenarios, the next inspection should be scheduled three years from the date of issuance of the most recent valid lead-safe certification. Please see the helpful resources below for a link to the form.

Overview

Requirements 

  • Rental properties subject to the new law must be inspected for lead-based paint within two years of the law taking effect on July 22, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier.
  • The type of inspection will depend on the lead levels in children in the municipality where a rental is located

Remediation Requirements

  • Properties where lead is found during an inspection will need to undergo remediation, either to make it lead safe or lead free
  • The type of remediation will determine if future inspections are required
  • Measures to temporarily make a property free of lead paint will make it lead safe
  • Measures to completely eliminate lead paint will make it lead free 

Properties Subject to New Lead Paint Law 

  • Single-Family Residential Rental Homes Built Before 1978
  • Two-Family Residential Rental Homes Built Before 1978


Properties Not Subject to New Lead Paint Law

  • Homes Built During or After 1978
  • One and Two-Family Seasonal Rental Dwellings Rented for Less than 6 Months that Do Not Have Consecutive Lease Renewals
  • Dwellings Certified to be Free of Lead Paint
  • This new law is not currently tied to time-of-sale requirements.

Helpful Resources:

New Jersey Department of Health Form Update – Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement

A Seller’s Disclosure is a document that requires sellers to provide previously undisclosed details about the property’s condition that prospective buyers may find useful and often unfavorable. The Disclosure is important for both the buyer and seller. For buyer, the Disclosure provides a clearer picture of the home and its history and allows them to make a more educated decision on whether to purchase the home. For sellers, the Disclosure can and will protect them from future litigation given the information is comprehensive and accurate. In New Jersey, home sellers are not required to fill out this disclosure form – though it is often recommended to ensure that sellers meet the state’s disclosure obligations, which are required.

In April, the New Jersey Department of Health released an updated form for the Seller Property Condition Disclosure Statement, commonly used in real estate transactions. The update to the form “requires that when a seller discloses on the property condition disclosure statement awareness of water leakage, accumulation or dampness, the presence of mold or other similar natural substance, or repairs or other attempts to control any water dampness problem on the property, the real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson shall refer the buyer of the real property to the “Mold Guidelines for New Jersey Residents” pamphlet issued by the New Jersey Department of Health, www.njrealtor.com/mold-guidelinespamphlet (https://www.njrealtor.com/mold-guidelines-pamphlet), and, if requested, give the buyer a physical copy of the document.”

The New Jersey REALTORS® Seller Property Condition Disclosure, Form #140 has been updated with a new question 126 to reflect the law.

Understanding Different Forms of Residential Real Estate Ownership in New Jersey

Photos by Randen Pederson

In New Jersey, purchasers of real property have different forms of ownership options. There is significance in which option is selected because it will affect multiple things, specifically, the purchasers right to sell the property or leave the property to heirs.

In the case of residential real estate, it is important that all purchasers determine the most appropriate and advantageous form of ownership as either a sole owner, or co-owner.

Sole ownership, as its name implies, is when title is held by one owner. Advantages to being an individual owner include the avoidance of any type of conflict that would arise between multiple owners, as well as the ease in which real property can be transferred and disposed.

Regarding co-ownership, New Jersey recognizes three forms; Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship; Tenancy in common (Tenants in Common); Tenancy by the entirety (Tenancy by the Entirety).

Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship

A joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (commonly referred to as joint tenancy) gives two or more persons an equal and undivided right to use and possess real property. This is most commonly used when individuals who are not married would like rights of survivorship.

Tenants in Common

A tenancy in common gives two or more persons an undivided fractional ownership interest in real property. Each co-owner has an equal right to possess the whole property, but without the right of survivorship. Individuals that own real property as tenants in common may own unequal interests and the percentage interest of each individual co-tenant is determined by the terms of the tenancy. 

Tenancy by the Entirety

A tenancy by the entirety is the tenancy held by a married couple on their joint acquisition of title after marriage. This form of ownership conveys title to the married couple as one person, with title transferred to the other in the entirety on the first death. When real property is conveyed to a married couple, a tenancy by the entirety is automatically formed by default unless the deed specifies another form of ownership (N.J.S.A. 46:3-17.2).

There is much more to the depth and scope of ownership types not included in this article, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Selecting the appropriate type for your personal situation is key. If you have additional questions or are currently experiencing real estate ownership issues, we are here to help!