New York City’s New Lead Laws: What Building Owners and Managers Need to Do Now
New York City announced in 2019 that the lead laws were going to change significantly to better protect tenants from lead poisoning. While many of these rules don’t go into effect right away, the time is now to start preparing so that you will be compliant. Here are the most time-sensitive new requirements.
XRF Inspections to be Required for All Units
Effective August 9, 2021, Local Law 31 of 2020, states that owners must have XRF lead inspections of all surfaces in every unit conducted by a third-party EPA-certified inspector or risk assessor to determine whether lead paint is present in the dwelling. These inspections must be completed within five years of the effective date of the law, which is August 9, 2025, OR within one year of a child under 6 first residing in that unit, whichever is sooner. Residing in a unit is defined as spending 10 or more hours per week there. In such cases, an XRF test must be completed for that unit quickly.
“This is going to be critical to do sooner rather than later, because the new lead law redefined multiple dwellings to include one- and two-family house rentals, with the exception being units occupied by the owner’s family,” notes Robert Weitz, Principal of RTK Environmental. “That means a lot more buildings are going to require lead testing.”
Certification of Compliance with Local Law 1 in HPD’s Annual Property Registration
As of May of 2020, New York City’s annual property registrations include five questions. The property owner or manager must certify that it has complied with Local Law 1, or there are steep penalties that can cost you up to $10,000.
Owners or property managers must certify that they:
- have provided tenants annual lead paint notices
- have taken appropriate action to obtain responses from the occupants
- are conducting annual inspections and providing the results to tenants
- are correcting any lead hazards by using certified contractors and RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) lead-safe work practices
- abating lead paint between the times tenants occupy a unit and when it is vacant
- maintaining documentation for 10 years.
Why test for lead now?
August 2025 will be here before you know it. The closer you get to the date on which everyone must be compliant, the more challenging it will be to find a lead inspector with the proper XRF equipment, as they will be in high demand. This will likely lead to heftier fees for lead inspections as well. Smart owners and managers will hire a certified, independent lead assessor now to avoid surge pricing and the possibility of having to wait weeks or even months – for an inspector to be available.
If you need more incentive, as of 2020, contractors applying for Home Improvement License must certify that they are EPA certified in RRP. If they are not certified in RRP, they are prohibited from lead abatement and doing work that could potentially disturb lead paint. This means if a lead hazard is found, you may have to wait for a contractor to be available as well, which means you’ll be racking up those daily $2,000 fines.
What are lead-based paint hazards?
A speck of lead dust the size of a grain of sand is enough to poison a child. That’s why it’s important to understand where lead lurks. Lead-based paint hazards include:
- Dust from peeling paint, window sills, or doors
- Damaged or peeling lead paint
- Lead paint on:
- Crumbling plaster or rotted wood
- Window sills and any other surfaces that have been chewed on by children
- Doors and windows that stick or rub together
Lead Poisoning Symptoms and Effects
With the new law, the blood lead level indicating that a child has been lead poisoned has been lowered from 10 to 5 ug/dl (retroactive to June 1, 2012), which is now consistent with the CDC guidelines. Even if a person appears to be healthy, they may have elevated blood lead levels, which can lead to complex health problems.
Lead poisoning can cause serious, irreversible damage including: brain damage, ADD and ADHD, aggressive behavior and tendencies for violence, damage to the nervous system, impaired growth, reproductive issues, lower IQ, and in extreme cases, coma or even death.
Take the first steps to becoming compliant with New York City’s new lead laws. Contact RTK Environmental at 800.392.6468 or click here to schedule online. Our inspectors are EPA licensed and certified. And since we only do testing and never remediation, your results will be unbiased. Contact us today!