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California has a wide range of public health and environmental laws. SB 460 (enacted January, 2003) establishes that maintaining or creating a lead hazard via unsafe work practices constitutes a violation to state housing & health codes.  However, since the city of San Diego is a chartered city: it must set its own laws regarding lead hazards. Families living in pre-1978 housing are currently exposed to lead hazards. The Lead Ordinance addresses this problem by allowing the city of San Diego to have jurisdiction over this issue to strengthen their ability to enforce SB 460 and to fill in the gaps of SB 460. In 2003, Senate Bill 460 amended state housing law to make “lead hazards” a housing violation that can be cited by local health, environmental health, housing and building departments. In addition, SB460 amended state health law to authorize local health, environmental health, housing and building departments to stop unsafe repairs and construction work that creates lead hazards, order work to be done in a lead-safe way, and issue fines to those who violate the orders. Despite the passage of SB460, the city of San Diego still lacks clear and comprehensive standards of care and protocols for rental property owners and managers, tenants, and contractors on lead-safe work practices and lead hazard evaluation and control. 

The mere presence of lead paint does not mean there is a lead hazard.  

As a homeowner or landlord, you do not have to presume there is lead-based paint in your pre-1978 house. If you would like, an inspector can deem whether your house is lead-free (zero lead), lead safe (lead-based paint present but no hazards), or identify the lead hazards.  

Costs to Landlords and Homeowners are minimal n  primarily the cost of maintaining paint in good condition.

— LETICIA AYALA

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