Monday, July 26, 2010

Rental Inspections Will Help Bellingham Get the Lead Out

A recent article in the Bellingham Herald (click here to read the piece), spoke to the problem of interior lead contamination (from lead based paint) in homes, primarily those built before 1978. The article also spoke to the issue of Bellingham’s aging housing stock. [Zonemaven note: 50% of our housing consists of rentals and virtually none is inspected for life/safety issues, to include lead based paint.] Not surprisingly, Jon Martin, the development manager at the Building Performance Center in Bellingham was quoted in the article as saying, “We have an older housing stock here. We do a lot of testing and definitely see plenty of houses with lead-based paint…”

Removal of lead based paint is a hazardous process. Identifying the presence of lead based paint is not for amateurs, be they landlords or renters. Nor is it for amateurs to identify structural, electric, plumbing, ventilation and mold problems, which is the reason we need rental licensing and inspection in Bellingham. I call on the City Council and the Mayor to place lead paint contamination on the list of items to be inspected in a comprehensive rental licensing and inspection code.