Lead-based Paint

Lead is a highly toxic metal found naturally in the environment that can cause serious bodily damage. Lead is particularly harmful to children, in whom it can cause learning and behavior problems and delay physical growth and mental development. The use of lead-based paint in residential buildings was banned in New York City in 1960.

Lead Paint Law

The City's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (Local Law 1 of 2004) requires landlords to identify and remediate lead-based paint hazards in the apartments of young children, using trained workers and safe work practices. Lead-based paint  is presumed to exist in a multiple dwelling unit if:

  • The building was built before 1960 (or between 1960 and 1978 if the owner knows that there is lead-based paint) and
  • A child under the age of six lives in the apartment.

Owners of such buildings must:

  • Investigate lead-based paint hazards and remediate those hazards upon turnover of the apartment using safe work practices and trained workers. For more information on work practices, read the Guide to Local Law #1 of 2004 Work Practices.
  • Give new occupants a form inquiring if a child under age six will reside in the unit. Owners must also certify on this form that they have performed the required work prior to occupancy of the unit by the new occupants.
  • Include a notice about owner responsibilities under the law with each lease and provide a pamphlet informing occupants about lead.
  • Send an annual lead notice between January 1st-15th to all tenants in pre-1960 multiple dwellings or dwellings constructed between 1960-1978  where lead-based paint is known to exist. Owners must also send out annual window guard notices and may use this approved combination form to do so:
  • Annually investigate units where children under six reside as well as common areas in the property to find peeling paint, chewable surfaces, deteriorated subsurfaces, and friction and impact surfaces. This investigation must be conducted more often if the owner knows about a condition that may cause a lead hazard, or the occupant complains about such a condition. Owners must physically inspect units whose occupants do not respond to determine if there is a child under six residing in the unit.
  • Maintain records about annual inspections and any work performed.
  • Correct any outstanding lead-based paint violations (issued under previous lead-based paint laws) using safe work practices  set forth in Local Law 1, and maintain records about work performed

Note that the provisions of Local Law 1 do not apply in a dwelling unit in a building where title  is held by a cooperative or condominium and the shareholder of record or his or her family occupies the unit. The law does, however, apply to cooperative or condominium units occupied by a tenant or subtenant.

Property owners can hire qualified companies to conduct testing to determine whether there is lead-based paint in their buildings and work proactively to reduce the liability associated with lead-based paint. Local Law 1 provides for an exemption from certain provisions of the law based on submission of the required testing and documentation—refer to HPD's Exemption application.

Removing lead-based paint violations

Important notice about the completion of work: Please be advised that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Orders prohibit certain companies from performing lead paint testing, lead dust sampling, lead paint and lead dust analysis or lead abatement work. Consult DOHMH's website to access a listing of these companies. Certifications for corrections of HPD violations will be rejected should one of the companies identified on DOHMH's website complete work or testing related to these violations.

New Violations

Currently, HPD issues violations based on a surface testing positively for lead (order #617) and for surfaces which were not tested by HPD that are subject to the presumption in the law (order #616).  Violations are also issued based on a failure to provide records requested by the Department after a lead-poisoned child is identified in the building by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) (order #618). 

Order #

Options for the owner

616

Correct and certify the correction of the condition; File for a contestation; Request a postponement

617

Correct and certify the correction of the condition

618

Provide requested records within 45 days of demand. You can contact the Lead-Based Paint Inspection Unit’s COTA Unit at (212) 863-5501, select option 5, for more details regarding the dismissal of this violation.

Certification

If the  correction period has not expired, the owner should correct and certify:

  • Ensure that all work is performed by an EPA licensed firm and all required safework practices are followed. Dust clearance testing must occur each day and at the conclusion of the work. Review Guide To Local Law #1 of 2004 Work Practices for more details.
  • Obtain the following documentation from the EPA licensed firm:
    • A sworn statement made by the agent or employee who performed the work to correct the lead-based paint hazard violation(s) stating that the work was performed in accordance with §27-2056.11 of Article 14 of the Housing Maintenance Code and §11-06 of Title 28 of the Rules of the City of New York. Include the start and completion date of the work, and contact information (phone or fax) for the individual signing the statement.
    • A copy of the EPA certification for the firm that performed the work to correct the lead-based paint hazard violation(s).
  • Obtain the following information from the firm that is conducting the dust clearance  test:
    • A copy of the valid Certificate of Training of the individual who took surface dust samples. (NYC DOHMH Certificates of Training are not valid as of August 2004).
    • An affidavit from the individual who took the surface dust sample, verifying the date the sample was taken and indicating the address/apartment where the sample was taken
    • A copy of the State-certified laboratory analysis of all surface dust samples taken which indicates the method of analysis and preparation of the samples. The New York State Deptartment of Health Environmental Laboratory Approval Program provides lists of certified labs.
  • Certify the violation as corrected using the Certification of Correnction Lead-Based Paint Hazard Violation form (the back of the Notice of Violation that HPD sent, which lists the violations on the front side).
  • Submit the certification documents to HPD:  HPD, Lead-Based Paint Inspection Program, 105 East 106th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10029.

Once all of this documentation is submitted to and accepted as on time and valid by HPD, a reinspection will be performed by HPD before a lead-based paint violation can be dismissed.

Postponements

An owner can request up to two postponements of the date of correction if he/she is having trouble scheduling the work for the reasons listed on the postponement request form.  Review these documents carefully before applying for a postponement. 

Contestations

Contestations will be considered for presumed lead-based paint violations (order #616). The owner can contest the violation following the instructions on the Contestation form only if: 

  • The paint has been tested and is not lead.  In this case, documentation regarding the testing must be provided as indicated on the contestation form, or;
  • The building was built after 1960. A certificate of occupancy must be provided.

Overdue Violations

Lead-based paint violations have been issued under several different lead laws over the past 30 years.  The laws required different methods of correction and different documentation to support the correction.  If the deadline to correct and certify such a violation has passed, the owner cannot certify correction.  The next steps that the owner must take will depend on whether an inspection has already been conducted by HPD.  For more instructions on how to proceed for your particular building, go to HPDONLINE.  Enter your building address and select Overdue Lead-Based Paint Violations from the left hand column.  You will be presented with the list of violations that are open and next steps, including information on which of the below affidavits is required to be submitted.

AF-5: Affidavit of Compliance: Lead-based paint violations – for work completed after August 1, 2004

AF-3: Affidavit of Compliance: Lead-based paint violations – for work completed prior to August 1, 2004  

For further questions, contact a Borough Service Center or call the Lead Hotline at (212) 863-5501.

Reporting

Within four months after the close of the first fiscal year, HPD provides to the City Council a written report on HPD's implementation of Local Law 1 during the preceding year. The report includes an analysis of the program, a detailed statement of revenue and expenditures, and a statistical section designed to provide a detailed explanation of HPD's enforcement, including information about complaints, inspections, violations, certification of corrections, and work orders.

Resources

Education

Documents for Owners

Funding Available to Owners to Treat Lead-based Paint Hazards

Repairs and Renovations
Owners should also be aware that under the law, not only lead violations, but also any repairs or renovations that are performed in dwelling units with children under age six must be undertaken by trained workers and followed by lead dust clearance tests upon completion. Any such work performed after August 2, 2004 is subject to the requirements under Local Law 1.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule
The EPA has issued rules to protect against lead-based paint hazards that can occur during renovations, repair and painting activities. These rules apply in New York City and are in addition to the repair and renovation requirements of Local Law 1. The effective date of the rules is April 22, 2010. For more information on the EPA renovation rules, and for a list of training providers, go to the EPA website.
Encapsulants
HPD's rules permit the use of encapsulants, i.e. materials that are applied over lead-based paint to seal the paint to a surface and prevent the release of paint chips or dust. See the NYS DOH website for details.