Landlords seek changes as mayor considers whether to sign lead paint bill in Philly

A vote could come this week in Philadelphia City Council that would require lead paint inspections each time an a new tenant moves into an apartment.  

The bill requires testing for lead dust before a rental property can be certified for a new tenant, but the inspection can be waived if one has been completed in the past two years.  Attorney George Gould of Community Legal Services says lead checks are done economically elsewhere.

“In Rochester it’s maybe $100 to $125 in Washington, D.C., maybe $150 to $200,” said Gould. “Right now, the cost—because there aren’t many people doing it—the cost is relatively high. There is no competition. If the bill is passed, there would be lot of people who would get in this business. There is no doubt that the cost would go down.”

Attorney Darrell Zaslow represents a group of property owners. He says the measure could mean rent hikes or worse.

“We’re concerned about the abandonment of property because of the extensive remedial work we’re talking about—$5,000, $10,000 or $40,000 per house to make the property up to speed—which is what this bill would require,” said Zaslow.

Zaslow says he wants to restrict testing to units where young children live and allow property owners to be trained to do the work.

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