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Lead-Based Paint Regulations

Homes built before 1978 that will be lived in by children younger than 6 cannot have any deteriorating or peeling paint. This applies both inside and out. This HUD rule helps protect tenants, property owners, and employees from lead poisoning. It works to limit exposure by reducing the lead content in house dust.

KCHA inspectors visually check painted surfaces inside and outside. This includes living spaces, stairways, fences, and garages. They look for signs of deteriorating paint: peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking. If the inspector finds these signs, you must stabilize the paint using safe work practices.

Paint Stabilization

You must remove or enclose all deteriorated paint. If you remove paint from a surface, you must repaint that surface. You must also repair any damaged surfaces beneath the paint.

A person certified in safe work practices must do all work. They must have passed either the Renovator's Lead-Based Paint Training Course or a Safe Work Practices Training Course approved by HUD.

You must ensure and certify that paint stabilization occurs with safe work practices. This involves the use of special equipment, such as respirators and vacuum cleaners fitted with HEPA filters. It also includes occupant protection and worksite prep and cleanup. The site must be sealed with plastic sheeting during work and cleaned thoroughly before tenants move in.

The unit must also pass a KCHA inspection before tenants move in. It includes a visual review of the affected area. It also requires surface wipe samples of all affected rooms to see if lead exists on floors, window sills, and troughs. If the worksite was properly sealed, testing only takes places within the worksite and the immediate area. Otherwise the entire unit must pass the test.

Note that safe work practices and testing are not required when the worksite involves painted surfaces that total less than:

  • 20 square feet on outside surfaces.
  • 2 square feet in any one room or space.
  • 10 percent of the total area on an indoor or outdoor component with a small surface (e.g., window sill, molding).

You must notify tenants in writing about all lead-based paint work and test results. You must also continue to monitor and maintain the unit to prevent lead hazards.

KCHA may exempt deteriorating paint from these rules if a state-certified lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor finds the paint not to be lead-based.

We encourage you to inspect your property and remove defective paint using these guidelines before an inspection. This allows the tenant to move in and start paying rent sooner.

Lead-Based Paint Resources

HUD provides information about lead-based paint regulations and training. This can help you make some repairs on your own. You can also download HUD's Lead Compliance Toolkit (PDF format, 230 KB, download Adobe Reader). KCHA recommends the list of firms certified by the State of Washington to do lead-based paint inspection, risk assessment, and repair services.

Other resources include:

To learn more about lead-based paint, contact Carolyn Robinson at 206-214-1307 (phone), 206-315-6920 (fax), or

Main Office
600 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 574‑1100
Fax: (206) 574‑1104
TDD: (800) 833‑6388

Section 8 Office
700 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 214‑1300
Fax: (206) 243‑5927