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|Councilmember Jim Graham
A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Councilmember Jim Graham introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on Human Services with comments from the Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
To require dwellings to be inspected for lead hazards and to make them lead safe at turnover.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this act may cited as the "Lead Inspection at Turnover Act of 2001."
Sec. 2 Definitions.
(a) The term "turnover" is defined as the sale of the dwelling or the rental of the dwelling to new tenants. An owner shall not be required to have a dwelling inspected by a certified lead inspector more often than once every two years.
(b) The term "dwelling" means any building or structure used or designed to be used in whole or in part as a living or a sleeping place by one or more human beings that was built prior to January 1, 1979.
(c) A "lead safe" dwelling means a dwelling that is deemed to be lead safe in compliance with the regulations promulgated under this chapter and:
(d) The term "tenant" for purposes of this section is defined as the named party on the lease or in the event there is no lease, the person from whom the owner accepts rent.
(e) The term "certified lead inspector" is an inspector who has been certified in accordance with D.C. Code Title 6 §997.5.
(f) The term "inspection" means a surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence of lead-based paint. An inspection includes all intact and nonintact interior and exterior painted surfaces of dwellings subject to this section for lead-based paint using an approved x-ray fluorescence analyzer, atomic absorption spectroscopy, or comparable approved sampling or testing technique. A certified inspector shall certify in writing the precise results of the inspection on the certificate of inspection. If the results equal or exceed a level of 1.0 milligrams per centimeter squared or 0.5 percent by weight, the results shall be recorded on the certificate of inspection.
(g) The term "risk assessment" means an on-site investigation by a certified lead inspector to determine and report the existence, nature, severity and location of lead-based paint hazards in residential dwellings, including
(4) other environmental sampling and activity as may be appropriate.
(h) The term "Mayor" refers to the Mayor of the District of Columbia or his or her designated agent.
(i) A dwelling is considered "lead free" when the owner submits an inspection and risk assessment report that:
(j) The term "lead hazard" is any condition that causes exposure to lead from lead contaminated dust, lead-contaminated soil, lead-contaminated paint that is deteriorated or present in accessible surfaces, friction surfaces, or impact surfaces that would result in adverse health effects to humans, including pregnant women or children.
Sec. 3 Inspection and risk assessment at turnover.
(a) An owner of a dwelling in the District of Columbia shall have inspections and risk assessments performed by a certified lead inspector upon the turnover of said dwelling. The owner will then provide the buyer or the tenant of that dwelling with the certificate signed by the certified lead inspector. The inspection and risk assessment shall occur prior to the occupancy of a dwelling by a new tenant and no dwelling may be rented until it is designated as lead safe or lead free. The seller of a dwelling that is not certified as lead safe or lead free shall inform the buyer that the dwelling is not lead safe or lead free and provide the buyer with a copy of the inspection and risk assessment certificate prior to closing.
(b) Inspection and risk assessment shall occur prior to the sale of the dwelling or the occupancy of the dwelling by new tenants.
(c) A dwelling that has been certified as lead free and has been registered with the Dwelling Lead Registry is exempt from further inspection under this title.
Sec. 4 Removal from risks.
(a) Repairs, abatement or maintenance necessary to bring a dwelling up to a lead safe or lead free standard shall occur at turnover when the unit is not occupied.
Sec. 5 Tenant enforcement.
(a) If a tenant does not receive a copy of the certificate of inspection and risk assessment within 30 days of occupancy of his/her dwelling, the tenant may petition to the Landlord Tenant Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and request that his/her rent be placed into an escrow account with the Clerk of the Court. Such request shall be under oath and shall be served upon the owner. The owner shall have 20 days from service to file proof of inspection and risk assessment with the Court. If such proof is not filed, the tenant may deposit his/her rent into the escrow account. If such proof is filed within 20 days, then the petition will be dismissed.
(b) If 20 days from the service of the petition passes without proof being filed and:
(d)[Sic] If the Court makes a finding that the tenant or his/her agent received a copy of the certificate of inspection and risk assessment prior to the tenant's filing of the petition requesting that rent be placed into and escrow account, the Court at its discretion may assess costs and attorney's fees against the tenant. The Court, for good cause, may also reduce the owner's portion of any distribution from the escrow fund for costs and attorney's fees.
(e) If an inspection and risk assessment performed after a tenant has occupied a dwelling indicates that the dwelling is not lead safe or lead free, the owner shall pay the tenant relocation expenses and an amount equal to three times the monthly rent. These payments are in addition to any distributions the tenant may receive from the escrow fund.
(f) Nothing in this act is intended to limit other remedies the tenant, owner or buyer may have in law or equity.
Sec. 6 Failure to have inspection and risk assessment
(a) If the owner fails to provide proof of inspection and risk assessment within 180 days of the filing of the petition, the dwelling shall be deemed not lead safe and any certificate of occupancy issued for that dwelling shall be revoked immediately.
(b) The dwelling in question shall not receive another certificate of occupancy or be rented again until the dwelling is certified as lead free and such certification is filed with the application for a certificate of occupancy.
Sec. 7 Lead abatement fund
(a) The Mayor is hereby authorized to establish a Lead Hazard Control Fund and to make or contract to make low-interest loans and grants to owners of property for lead hazard control in accordance with this chapter.
(b) The portion of disbursements collected under section 3(b) of this Act designated for the lead abatement fund will be deposited into this account.
Sec. 8 Registry
The Mayor shall establish a Dwelling Lead Registry. The Dwelling lead Registry will contain a list of dwellings that have been certified as lead safe or lead free. Owners shall file the certificates of inspection with this registry. The registry shall also maintain a list of dwellings whose certificates of occupancy were revoked under section 5 of this Act.
Sec. 9 Certificate
The Mayor shall establish a certificate of lead inspection and risk assessment upon which the certified lead inspector will record his/her findings. These findings shall include, but are not limited to the precise results of the inspection as defined in 2 (f) of this Act and the results of the risk assessment as defined in section 2(g) of this Act and shall be under oath.
Sec. 10 Rules and regulations.
(a) Within 4 months of the effective date of this chapter the Mayor shall adopt, in accordance with the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (D.C. Code, section 1506), and thereafter may revise as appropriate, rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes and provisions of this chapter. These rules and regulations shall be consistent with regulations and standards promulgated under 42 U.S.C. §4852c unless good cause is shown as to why a deviation is necessary.
Sec. 11. Fiscal impact statement.
The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code § 1233(c)(3)).
Sec. 12. This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), approval by the Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority as provided in section 203(a) of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995, approved April 17, 1995 (109 Stat. 116; D.C. Code § 47-392.3(a)), a 60-day period of Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(2) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code § 1-233(c)(2)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.
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