Four more lead-paint laws hit landlords

Small buildings face penalties, as do owners missing paperwork

Feb.February 11, 2020 02:30 PM
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed five bills that deal with New York City’s persistent lead problem — four of them targeting landlords.

The action comes just days after an ongoing federal probe into the city’s lead problem was made public.

One first bill requires that every pre-1960 apartment where a child resides be checked for lead hazards within five years by an inspector certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. “This process will finally identify the whereabouts of all lead paint in New York City homes before they become hazards due to peeling or construction,” reads a memo from the New York League of Conservation Voters, a supporter of the measure.

But how that information will be distributed remains uncertain. “It is imperative that the city take the next step in collecting all of the valuable information and posting it publicly for public awareness,” the environmental group’s memo added.

The bill also compels home improvement contractors to show that they follow lead-related safety practices.

Another bill signed by de Blasio beefs up enforcement against landlords who have not taken preventative measures under existing law. Building owners who cannot prove they have done so are presumed to have not.

Smaller landlords and vacation rental owners will also have to meet lead-prevention guidelines, as existing lead laws now apply to one- and two-family homes that are not owner-occupied.

Another bill mandates that, should the Department of Health be notified of a pregnant person who tests positive for elevated lead levels, the agency must check the apartment for lead-based paint after the child is born.

Lead poisoning, which impairs brain development in children, has been significantly reduced in recent decades by a number of steps, notably the removal of lead from gasoline. But although lead-based paint was banned in 1960, the toxin has proved difficult to remediate in older buildings.

The city’s building and health departments launched an investigation into lead hazards last year.

Revelations in 2018 that the New York City Housing Authority covered up exposure to lead brought attention to the issue and led to the appointment of a federal monitor.

Related Articles

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered the message this week ahead of a formal plan to combat social gathering in the city. (Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images and Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

New York City to enforce social distancing at parks, playgrounds

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

Mayor questions allowing condo construction during pandemic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, iStock)

Governor gives NYC 24 hours to make crowd-reduction plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

De Blasio says he will pursue rent moratorium

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)

De Blasio considering shelter-in-place order

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 (Credit: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

NYC restaurants, bars, schools closed to prevent virus spread

During de Blasio’s state of the city address last month, the mayor proposed a vacancy tax once again, in a bid to tackle the city’s 12,000 empty storefronts. (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

San Francisco passed a tax on vacant storefronts. What does that mean for NYC?

Blackstone's Jonathan Gray and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty  Images)

City sides with tenants at Stuy Town in case against Blackstone