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Duties of Landlords to Remediate Lead Paint under New York City Law

Lead Paint

The New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Law of 2003 requires the remediation of lead paint hazards in housing and day care facilities. This post covers the requirements placed on apartment building owners by the law.

Which buildings are covered?

  • ¬†All multiple dwellings built before 1960 (a building with three or more apartments counts as a multiple dwelling)
  • All multiple dwellings built between 1960 and 1978 where the owner knows of the presence of lead-based paint
  • Day care facilities – the law is broadly defined to include any facility which provides day care services. Special provisions apply to day care facilities, which will be addressed separately

What does the lead paint law require of NYC apartment building owners?

Identification – It is the duty of the building owners to ascertain whether a child under six years old is living in the dwelling. The provisions below only apply when a child of applicable age lives in the building.

Notification – Owners of covered dwellings are required to provide an annual notice to the building’s occupants. This notice must also be given at lease-up or lease renewals. The notice must conspicuously set forth the obligations of owner and tenant under the law and must at least be in English and Spanish. The notice must be approved by the department.

Inspection – At least once every year, owners are required to inspect both the units and the common areas and look for peeling paint on chewable surfaces (window sills, stairway handrails), deteriorated subsurfaces (e.g. rotting or decayed wood, wet plaster), friction surfaces (a painted surface that touches or contacts another surface when in motion, such as window frames and door jambs) and impact surfaces (door frames, moldings, baseboards or other surfaces prone to being hit, scuffed, dented or chipped). Any lead hazards found in these areas must be remediated.

Remediation – The presence of a lead-based paint hazard in a dwelling where a child under six years old resides is a per se dangerous condition, and the owner must take action to prevent or “expeditiously” remediate the condition. The law defines remediation as “the reduction or elimination of a lead-based paint hazard through the wet scraping and repainting, removal, encapsulation, enclosure, or replacement of lead-based paint, or other method approved by the commissioner of health and mental hygiene.”

Doing your job as a building owner may not protect you from being sued, but it can provide you with the defense needed to avoid a serious judgment levied against you. Although the law as written is favorable to tenants, there are defenses available to keep building owners from being unfairly penalized. If a lead-based paint complaint has been leveled against you, contact the Law Offices of Richard A. Fogel, P.C. to speak with an attorney experienced in lead paint defense litigation.

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