Home Headquarters: Supporting Landlords to be EPA Certified

Renting a home can be demanding time for families. As they relocate from former living spaces they are faced with sorting out financials, signing leases, and moving their belongings, among countless others tasks. But something commonly missing from the list is leaving these families at risk – the ability to identify lead in the new residence.

Ed Perry, a local business owner and landlord, noticed that many rental properties in Syracuse contained some form of lead paint. When he purchased his first property on Cherry Street in 2017 he was prepared to take the necessary steps to re-mediate any lead paint with the intent of renting out the property.

“Lead is something that can take people’s lives,” said Perry. “When I decided I wanted to become a landlord the biggest thing for me was ensuring my tenants’ safety.”

Pinpointing where lead paint is located within a home can be challenging. In most homes built before 1978, lead paint was used on more than just the walls. It has been found on unexpected areas like bathtubs, sinks, porches, decks, and even the exterior of homes. If remediation is not done properly, people that come in contact with the area can be at high risk of ingesting toxic lead particles.

Wanting to ensure his safety and that of others, Perry turned to Home Headquarters for help. The organization provides training to individuals that are seeking to become certified or re-certified to remove lead from properties safely and effectively. The 8-hour Renovation Repair and Paint (RRP) training course teaches: (1) why this is important, (2) Federal and State regulations, and (3) the safe procedures to removing, cleaning, and disposing of lead.

“There are a lot of people who just don’t know how to properly address lead,” said Katie Bronson, director of community housing initiatives at Home HeadQuarters. “The training gives them authorization to do it and the knowledge on how to do it correctly.”

In 2019, the Central New York Community Foundation provided Home HeadQuarters with a $20,000 grant through its LeadSafeCNY initiative to support its landlord and contractor training program.

Perry jumped at the opportunity to enhance his building’s safety and applied for the program in 2018. With his newly attained certification in hand, he was able to identify the exposed lead particles in his property alongside an inspector. Before, he began removing all the lead from the property.

“Whenever we found lead we needed to pull up the material, clean the surface underneath and put up barriers to prevent the spread of dust,” explained Perry. “The training provided me with the knowledge to make these renovations and ultimately saved me time and money. Now I feel confident in starting to open up the apartments to new tenants.”

It took many tedious days and considerable effort but it finally paid off. Perry’s property now houses two apartments on the second floor and his barbershop on the first floor.

The training wasn’t the only perk for Perry. The Syracuse Land Bank offered a deal to Perry. If he would get certified, he would receive a grant from Home HeadQuarters that would cover 50 percent of his $20,000 loan with the bank. Not only did he become knowledgeable and certified on identifying and removing lead, but he also was able to save approximately $10,000 on his loan.

Perry recognized the impact that the training has had on him and his businesses. He hopes that by taking a stand to provide lead-safe properties, he will inspire others to do the same.

“I was surprised when I took the class, that in addition to myself and other local property owners, there were also individuals representing various businesses,” said Perry. “It felt good to be surrounded by people like myself who want to save money while also helping others within our community.”

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