Lead-Based Paint

Lead-Based Paint

Lead is a harmful metal often found in old paint that can be poisonous for young children if it creates dust or paint chips. Young children can swallow the lead paint dust and chips from window sills and floors. Lead causes behavior and learning problems in young children. While lead-based paint was banned in New York City in 1960, older buildings may still contain it. Property owners of these buildings are responsible for keeping tenants safe from lead-based paint hazards.

Learn more about lead poisoning and types of lead exposure other than lead-based paint.

What Are Lead-Based Paint Hazards?

Lead-based paint hazards include:

  • Dust from peeling paint
  • Peeling or damaged lead paint
  • Lead paint on:
    • Crumbling plaster or rotted wood
    • Doors and windows that stick or rub together
    • Window sills and any other surfaces that have been chewed on by children

As a result of the annual notice or anytime the tenant reports a peeling paint condition, a landlord is responsible to properly repair the condition. If the landlord does not fix peeling paint or if the work is not being done safely (creating dust that is not contained), the tenant should file a complaint online or call 311.

Where Does the Lead-Based Paint Law Apply?

In New York City, Local Law 1 of 2004, and its amendments, require landlords to identify and remediate lead-based paint hazards in the apartments where there is a young child, using trained workers and safe work practices.

Lead-based paint hazards are presumed to exist in dwelling units and common areas if:

  • The building was built before January 1, 1960;
  • The building has three or more apartments; and
  • A child under the age of six resides in the dwelling unit.
    • *NEW* Under Local Law 64 of 2019, the definition of the term "resides" is to routinely spend 10 or more hours per week in a dwelling unit, which includes both a child who lives in the apartment and a child who just visits for this period of time.

This means that, unless a property owner has tested the painted surfaces and maintains records of that testing, they must presume that the paint is lead-based paint and follow the instructions under the law for doing any types of work that could disturb a lead-based paint surface. If the owner has tested the surfaces throughout the apartments, they should see HPD’s Exemption application below.

For a general overview of what landlords must do and what every tenant should know, download the Lead Paint Hazards in the Home (Peligros de la Pintura con Plomo en el Hogar) pamphlet. Click on specific topics below and continue reading this page for more information.

Tenant Information

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Lead-Based Paint Safety

You can be proactive to keep your child safe from lead-based paint.

In any building built before January 1, 1960, if there is a child under the age of six residing in the apartment, tenants should:

  • Wash floors, window sills, hands, toys, and pacifiers often
  • Report any peeling paint to your landlord so that the surface can be repaired immediately anytime you see peeling paint throughout the year.
  • If dust is being created during construction work, ensure your child is not in the work area and ensure that the workers are keeping that area separated from the rest of your apartment. Report dust created by this type of work that is not contained and/or is not cleaned daily to 311.
  • It is also extremely important that you remind your doctor to test children for lead poisoning at ages one and two.
  • Learn more about lead poisoning and types of lead exposure other than lead-based paint

The Annual Notice

Between January 16th and February 15th, return the Annual Notice that you receive from your landlord. This puts your landlord on notice that you have a child under six residing in your apartment, and that you require an annual inspection of painted surfaces in your apartment. 

If a child younger than six comes to live in the apartment or routinely spend more than 10 hours per week any other time during the year, you must also notify the landlord in writing.

  • Annual Notice for Prevention of Lead-Based Paint Hazards - Inquiry Regarding Child (Aviso Anual Para Medidas de Precaucion con los Peligros de Plomo en la Pintura-Encusta Respecto al Nino)
  • The Lease Notice

    Property owners are required to provide:

    Property owners must also certify on this notice that they have performed the required turnover work prior to occupancy of the unit by the new occupants. This notice is also required at lease renewal. Tenants may request a copy of the documentation to show the required work was completed.

    Complaints

    As a result of the annual notice or anytime the tenant reports a peeling paint condition, a landlord is responsible to properly repair the condition. If the landlord does not fix peeling paint or if the work is not being done safely (creating dust that is not contained), the tenant should file a complaint online or call 311.

    In Buildings with Three or More Units

    When a tenant files a complaint and a child under the age of six resides in the apartment in a building with three or more units and built prior to 1960, HPD will attempt to schedule an appointment for an inspector to conduct a lead-based paint inspection. A lead-based paint inspection involves testing paint using an x-ray fluorescence machine (XRF), which measures the lead content in the paint. The inspector will test any painted surface that has peeling paint and all windows and doors.

    If the tenant does not indicate there is a child under the age of six residing in the apartment in the complaint, but the inspector confirms there is a child under the age of six residing in the apartment at the time of the inspection, the inspector will conduct a visual lead-based paint survey. If peeling paint is found, another inspector will conduct a second inspection to confirm the presence of lead-based paint.

    HPD sends tenants a letter with the results of the XRF testing performed during the inspection so the tenant will know if lead-based paint was found in the areas tested. If lead-based paint was found and you have not already had your child tested or spoken with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene about having a blood test, we strongly encourage you to call 311 for more information or for a referral for testing.

    In One- or Two-Family Homes

    Tenants living in a one-family or two-family home with a child under the age of six residing there who observe a lead paint hazard should file a complaint online or call 311 and DOHMH will respond.

    Owner Responsibilities

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    Owner Responsibilities

    In New York City, Local Law 1 of 2004 presumes lead-based paint could exist in dwelling unit and common areas if: 

    • The building was built before January 1, 1960;
    • The building has three or more apartments; and
    • A child under the age of six resides in the dwelling unit.
      • Under Local Law 64 of 2019, the definition of the term "resides" is to routinely spend 10 or more hours per week in a dwelling unit, which includes both a child who lives in the apartment and a child who just visits for this period of time.

    For these apartments/buildings, the owner must:

    • Perform proactive activities to confirm that paint is intact.
    • Perform reactive activities to make sure peeling paint and deteriorated surfaces are properly remediated or abated.
      • The requirements for reactive work can depend on whether there is a child under the age of six residing in the unit, the amount of paint that could be disturbed, if work is performed in response to a violation from a city agency, or the type of work being performed.
    • Use safe work practices for any construction activities that disturb painted surfaces in a assuming the paint is lead-based paint unless the paint has already been tested.

    These requirements also exist for dwelling units and common areas built between January 1, 1960 and January 1, 1978 if the owner knows there is lead-based paint.

    Owners must also retain the records of these activities for at least 10 years and, starting in May 2020, certify compliance with these activities as a part of the annual property registration. Penalties may be significant for failure to conduct these activities and maintain these records.

    The requirements in Local Law 1 of 2004 do not apply in an apartment in a building where the title is held by a cooperative or condominium and the shareholder of record or their family occupies the apartment. The law does apply to cooperative or condominium units occupied by a tenant or subtenant.

    Annual Requirements

    1. Send out the Annual Notice to determine if there is a child under six residing in a dwelling unit. Conduct investigations if the tenant does not respond.

    • Between January 1 and January 15, owners of multiple dwelling built before 1960 (or between 1960 and 1978 if the owner has knowledge there is lead-based paint) are required to deliver an Annual Notice to each tenant and to collect the completed notice from the tenant by February 15.
    • The notice must be provided to the tenant in at least English and Spanish and in duplicate (two copies of each) so the tenant can retain a copy and return a copy to the owner.
    • Keep evidence that this notice was delivered and retain the completed notice received back from the tenant. This notice is important because it determines where the owner must do other required activities required under Local Law 1, such as the annual investigation and follow safe work practices.
    • Make sure your tenants know where to return this notice. If the tenant does not return the completed notice by February 15, the owner must conduct follow-up inspections between February 16 and March 1 to attempt to determine if a child under six lives or routinely spends more than 10 hours in the dwelling unit. An owner must keep records of the attempts made to contact the tenant to perform the investigation.
    • If the owner does not receive the completed notice from the tenant and cannot determine based on these follow-up investigations whether there is a child under six, the owner must also notify DOHMH in writing that no notice has been received back from the tenant (a copy of this notification should also be maintained by the owner). The owner’s notification to DOHMH should be mailed to:
      Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — Healthy Homes
      125 Worth Street, Sixth Floor, CN58
       New York, NY 10013
    • HPD has created forms to assist an owner with documentation the notice was sent, received back, or any follow-up inspections done if the notice was not returned by the tenant: see the Sample Forms for Delivery of Annual Notice Compliance.
    2. Do the annual investigation and fix deteriorated paint.
    • Once the owner knows which units have a child under the age of six residing in a unit, the owner must perform a visual investigation to look for potential lead-based paint hazards. This investigation must be conducted at least annually or more often if the owner knows about a condition that may cause a lead hazard, or if the occupant makes a complaint about such a condition.
    • You do not need to hire a professional to conduct your annual visual investigation. However, HPD highly recommends that whoever conducts this investigation take the online visual assessment training offered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to help the person know what to look for. This investigation is a visual inspection looking for peeling paint, chewable surfaces (such as window sills), deteriorated subsurfaces, friction surfaces (painted doors or windows) and impact surfaces. It must include every surface in every room in the dwelling unit, including the interiors of closets and cabinets. The person conducting the investigation should keep records about what they saw and HPD has created sample forms to assist with this. See the Sample Forms for Annual Investigation Compliance
    • After the visual inspection is completed, the owner is required to give a copy of the inspection results to the tenant.
    • The owner must also do this visual inspection in any building common areas (such as a lobby, hallway, or stairwell) of the building where a child resides.
    • Next, the owner must repair any deteriorated paint promptly. If there is peeling paint found on a surface where the owner has no documentation of the whether there is lead paint on the surface, the owner must presume that there is lead paint, and hire the appropriately certified contractor to complete the repairs safely and quickly or, (if you believe there is no lead in the paint because the wall is a new wall, for example) to test the peeling paint and keep documented evidence that the surface does not have lead. All documents regarding any work done by the appropriate contractors must be maintained. See below for more information about safe work practices.

    Requirements Upon Turnover of an Apartment

    When a dwelling unit changes tenants, owners are required under Local Law 1 to complete certain lead-based paint activities focused on making the unit safe for a new tenant and before the new tenant takes occupancy (regardless of whether the new tenant has a child at the time of initial occupancy). This is referred to as “turnover.”

    Owners must:

    • Remediate all lead-based paint hazards and any such underlying defects, when such underlying defects exist. At a minimum this would mean wet scrape and paint.
    • Provide for the removal of lead-based paint on chewable surfaces with evidence of teeth marks or encapsulate the surface with a hard, puncture resistant encapsulant.
    • Provide for the removal of all lead-based paint on friction surfaces on all doors and door frames.
    • Provide for the removal of all lead-based paint on frictions surfaces on all windows or provide for the installation of replacement window channels or sliders on the friction surfaces.
    • Make all bare floors, window sills, and window wells in the dwelling unit smooth and cleanable.

    All the work must be done following the safe work practices described below. Owners must then certify compliance with the turnover requirements on the Lease/Commencement of Occupancy Notice for Prevention of Lead-Based Paint Hazards (Contrato/Comeinze de Ocupacion y Medidas de Precaucion con los Peligros en la Pintura-Encuesta Respecto al Nino) provided to the new tenant with the lease (and at lease renewal) and provide documentation to the new tenant upon request along with a copy of the Lead Paint Hazards in the Home (Peligros de la Pintura con Plomo en el Hogar) pamphlet. HPD has created sample forms for an owner to document the turnover inspection was completed: see the Sample Forms for Turnover Vacancy Compliance

    NEW: 5-Year Testing Requirement (Local Law 31 of 2020)

    Effective August 9, 2020, Local Law 31 of 2020 states that an owner must use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified inspector or risk assessor, independent of the owner or any firm hired to perform lead-based paint remediation, to test for the presence of lead-based paint in a dwelling unit. The inspection must take place within 5 years of the effective date of the law (by August 9, 2025) or within one year if a child under the age of 6 comes to reside in the unit (whichever is sooner). As of January 1, 2020, the term “reside” now means that a child under six years of age lives in the dwelling unit in a pre-1960 building, OR a child under six years of age routinely spends 10 or more hours per week in such a dwelling unit.

    Additional information about the 5-year testing requirement to come soon from HPD.

    Safe Work Practices

    Local Law 1 of 2004 requires that owners follow and retain evidence that safe work practices were used for all repair work in a dwelling unit or building common area where a child under the age of 6 resides when more than 2 square feet of lead-based paint or paint of an unknown lead content is disturbed.

    • The owner must use contractors certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the level of certification increases if the work being done is over 100 square feet, or requires the removal of two or more windows, is in response to a violation, or is specifically for abatement. See the EPA's Locate Certified Renovation and Lead Dust Sampling Technician Firms webpage.
    • For work that does not meet these elevated requirements, the owner must hire a contractor firm who is a certified do to renovation (known as Renovation, Repair and Painting or RRP) by the EPA. The EPA website has information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program. After the work in completed, an EPA-certified Lead Inspector or Risk Assessor must take dust samples to confirm the area is free of lead-contaminated dust, below the levels provided in Local Law 1 and HPD’s rules. Owners must retain copies of the firm and worker certificates for the work and the dust samples, the results of the dust samples, and any invoices or documentation of the work done.
    • The RRP certification requirement extends to plumbers, electricians, carpentry, etc., if there is any work being done where paint would be disturbed.
    • You can find more details about safe work practices in the HPD Guide to Local Law 1 of 2004 Work Practices and in a bulletin HPD issued in September 2019 (see below in Additional Resources).
    • Failure to follow safe work practice can result in violations being issued by the Department of Buildings (DOB) or DOHMH
    HPD has created a form to help an owner know when the Local Law 1 requirement for documenting safe work practices applies: see the Sample Form for Safe Work Practices Compliance.

    Exemption

    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 of 2004 provides for an exemption from certain provisions of the law based on submission of the required test and documentation.

    Record Keeping and Compliance Forms

    HPD proactively audits lead-related records to determine a property owner’s compliance with Local Law 1 of 2004. HPD also demands these records from owners who have been issued a Commissioner’s Order to Abate by DOHMH. This is done by issuing a Record Production Order.

    The Record Production Order requires property owners to submit the following documentation for their property within 45 days of the request:

    • Copies of records for the Annual Notice distribution and collection
    • Copies of records for the completed annual investigations
    • Copies of records for work performed to correct open and uncertified lead-based paint hazard violations including documentation of work practices used
    • Copies of records for all non-violation work that disturbed lead-based paint or paint of unknown lead content in a dwelling unit where a child under six years of age resides or in the common area of the building, including documentation of the work practices used
    • Copies of records for all work performed at turnover of any unit that was the subject of a new tenancy including documentation of work practices used and lead-contaminated dust clearance test results

    The Record Production Order is also issued with a series of affidavits to be completed. A property owner who does not respond to the Record Production Order will be issued an immediately hazardous Class “C” violation and may be subject to additional violations. Property owners will be liable for a civil penalty of no less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 for this violation. A property owner is also subject to civil penalties specifically for failure to conduct the annual notification and inspection and for failure to perform required activities upon turnover.

    Required notices:

    Sample Compliance Documents:

    Record Production Order Affidavits:

    Violations:

    Violations

    When a tenant files a complaint and a child under the age of six resides in the apartment in a building with three or more units and built prior to 1960, HPD will attempt to schedule an appointment for an inspector to conduct a lead-based paint inspection. A lead-based paint inspection involves testing paint using an x-ray fluorescence machine (XRF), which measures the lead content in the paint. The inspector will test any painted surface that has peeling paint and all windows and doors.

    If the tenant does not indicate there is a child under the age of six residing in the apartment in the complaint, but the inspector confirms there is a child under the age of six residing in the apartment at the time of inspection, the inspector will conduct a preliminary lead-based paint survey. If peeling paint is found, another inspector will conduct a second inspection to confirm the presence of lead-based paint.

    Violations will be issued if a lead paint hazard is identified by an HPD inspector, or if a lead paint hazard is presumed to exist, in any building with three or more units where a child under the age of six lives (Orders #616 and #617). The violation will constitute a class C immediately hazardous violation. Violations are also issued if a property owner fails to provide records requested by HPD after a lead-poisoned child is identified in the building by DOHMH (Order #618).

    The property owner will be advised about how to safely remediate the hazard. If the property owner fails to address the lead paint hazard, HPD will attempt to remediate the hazard through the Emergency Repair Program (ERP) and will bill the property owner for the work.

    Contestations

    Contestations will be considered for presumed lead-based paint violations (Order #616). The owner can contest the violation using the Contestation Form only if the building was built after 1960 or the paint has been tested and does not contain lead. In this case, documentation regarding the testing must be provided as indicated on the form.

    Correction and Certification

    Property owners are required to correct and certify the correction of the violations to HPD within a specified timeframe (indicated on the Notice of Violation) and all work must be performed by an EPA-licensed firm that employs safe work practices.. See the Remediation and Safe Work Practices section of this webpage for more information on the remediation of lead-based paint hazards.

    DOHMH prohibits certain companies from performing lead paint testing, lead dust sampling, lead paint and lead dust analysis or lead abatement work. Certifications for corrections of HPD violations will be rejected if one of these companies completes work or testing related to the violations.

    Postponements

    An owner can request up to two postponements of the date of correction if they are having a serious technical difficulty; inability to obtain necessary materials, funds, or labor; or inability to gain access to make the required repair. Review the 1st Request Postponement Form and 2nd Request Postponement Form carefully before submitting the request for postponement. These forms are also included with your Notice of Violation.

    Certification

    Only an owner, management agent, office of the corporation that owns the property, or party otherwise responsible for the property listed on the property registration may certify the violation. Once the documents listed below are submitted and accepted as on time and valid by HPD, a reinspection will be performed before the violation will be cleared.

    How to certify:

    1. Complete the Certification of Correction Forms:
    2. Attach the following documents:
      • Sworn Statement made by the EPA firm's authorized agent or individual who performed the work to correct the violation(s) stating that the work was performed in accordance with the applicable laws
      • Copy of the EPA certification for the firm that performed the work to correct the violation(s)
      • Copy of the lead-contaminated dust clearance tests from a New York State Environmental Laboratory Approval Program certified laboratory
      • Certificate of Training from the individual who took the surface dust sample
      • Affidavit from the individual who took the surface dust sample, verifying the date the sample was taken and indicating the address of the apartment where the sample was taken
    3. Submit the Certification of Correction Form and all attached documents to: HPD Lead-Based Paint Inspection Program 94 Old Broadway 7th Floor New York, NY 10027

    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.

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

    Education

    Get Ahead of Lead Briefings:

    HPD will regularly publish informational briefings to highlight one aspect of Local Law 1 of 2004 (New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act) and share other resources to support property owners.

    Local Law and Rules

    American Legal Publishing provides free access to view and search more than 2000 municipal codes nationwide. Please browse the American Legal Publishing’s Code Library to access Local Law 1 of 2004, and its amendments, as incorporated into the New York City Administrative Code. Local Law 1 of 2004 is New York City’s comprehensive law concerning the prevention of childhood lead poisoning through the remediation of lead paint hazards in housing, which became effective on August 2, 2004. Also included are the rules and amendments of the NYC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2003; proposed and adopted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Please consult your legal advisor for legal interpretations of Local Law 1 of 2004 and other code material.

    Additional Resources

    HPD Data and Annual Reporting on Lead-Based Paint

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    Data

    Coming soon.

    Annual Report

    Within four months after the close of the fiscal year, HPD provides to the City Council a written report on HPD's implementation of Local Law 1 of 2004 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, certifications of corrections, and work orders.