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Lead poisoning is most common, and most damaging, in very young children. Exposure to lead-based paint is the primary source of lead poisoning. The health risks posed by lead-based paint are serious, particularly in our cities and urban areas where housing stock is the oldest. For a child, even the tiniest amount of lead-based paint is potentially hazardous if it begins to peel, chip, or otherwise generate dust. Since no amount of lead is safe in the body, brief exposure can lead to disastrous results.

This firm has the distinction of being the attorneys for the Plaintiff, in the precedent setting case, Juarez v. Wavecrest Management Team Ltd, which was the landmark case in which the highest court of New York State established the rules relating to legal liability of landlords in New York City for exposing tenants to the hazards of lead-based paint. The legal issues are often quite complex and your case should be promptly analyzed by an experienced attorney.

Lead Poisoning Information

If you live in an old or aging building do not let your children chew, mouth, or handle window sills or any other painted surface.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin. It is extraordinarily dangerous for any person or any child to be exposed to lead dust or flaking lead based paint. Though lead paint has been banned in residential housing for decades, the old residual paint on the lower surfaces of the painted walls, trim, doors and moldings may have lead within them. The ingestion of one chip or a small amount of leaded dust can cause serious and permanent damage to a child.

The fact is at one time it was commonplace for buildings to utilize leaded paint. That has created a legacy of danger and hazard within the homes of millions of inner city children.

Paint containing lead is a poison that causes brain damage and other health problems. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which the Center for Disease Control [CDC] recommends public health actions be initiated.

Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. It causes neurocognitive damage and increases the likelihood of developing serious adult illness including certain types of cancer. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it may go undiagnosed if a blood test is not timely performed. Lead paint has been illegal in the USA since the 1970s. Older buildings may contain hazardous lead paint, and negligent landlords fail to test for or remove these dangerous conditions, usually having peeling, chipped or cracked painted surfaces, and needlessly expose innocent young children to this serious environmental hazard.

As with all potential cases, it is important to consult attorney at the earliest time in order to take steps to preserve relevant evidence and potentially conduct environmental studies.

Hotlines For Lead Poisoning Complaints And Concerns:

New York City – Complaints for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development Call: 311
NYC Department of Health: Healthy Homes Program Call: (646) 632-6002
253 Broadway
11th Floor, Box CN58
New York, New York 10007
Andrew Faciano, MPH
(LPPP/Healthy Homes Acting Director)
Call: (646) 632-6086
afacianO@health.nyc.gov
Jacqueline Ehrlich, MD, MPH
(Medical Director)
Call: (646)632-6007
jehrlich@health.nyc.gov
New York City Comptroller Lead Crisis Hotline: Call: (212) 669-4088
Westchester County Complaints for Lead Based Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Westchester County Department of Health 145 Huguenot Street
7th Floor
New Rochelle, New York 10801
Laurie Smalley, SPHN
(Director Patient Services/Community Liaison)
Call: (914)995-4032
LDS2@westchestergov.com
Steven Eschweiler
(CLPPP Administrator/Program Specialist)
Call: (914) 813-5059
Sae3@westchestergov.com
Westchester Bureau of Public Health Protection Call: (914) 813-5251
Nassau County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Nassau County Department of Health 200 County Seat Drive
Mineola, New York 11501
Julie Weiser, M.D., MPH
LPP Coordinator)
Call: (516) 227-9501
jweiser@nassaucountyny.gov
Nassau County Department of Health Residential Environment Unit Call: (516) 227-9415
Suffolk County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Suffolk County Department of Health 3500 Sunrise Highway
Suite 124
Great River, NY 11739
Danielle Brechter, MS, PNP
(CLPPP and IAP Coordinator)
Call: (631) 854-0224
Danielle.Brechter@suffolkcountyny.gov
Suffolk County Childhood Lead Poisoning Program Call: 631) 854-0215
Orange County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Orange County Department of Health 130 Broadway
Newburgh, New York 12550
Robert J. Dietrich
(Director, CHO/LPPP/PPP)
Call: (845) 360-6675
BDeitrich@orangecountygov.com
Maureen Sailer
(Assistant Director CHO/LPPP/PPP)
Call: (845) 360-6695
Msailer@orangecountygov.com
Orange County Lead Poisoning Prevention and Remediation: Call: (845) 568-5237
Sullivan County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Sullivan County Department of Health 50 Community Lane
Liberty, New York 12754
Amanda Wolfe, RN, CHN
(Community Health Nurse, LPPP Coordinator)
Call: (845) 292-5910 x 2200
Amanda.Wolfe@co.sullivan.ny.us
Rockland County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Rockland County Department of Health 50 Sanatorium Road, Bldg J
Pomona, New York 10970
Bernadette Fontanges, RN
LPPP Coordinator, PHN
Call: (845) 364-2558
FontangB@co.rockland.ny.us
Dutchess County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Dutchess County Department of Health 85 Civic Center Plaza
Suite 106
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
Judith Rosenfeld, RN, MSN
Public Health Nurse (LPPP Coordinator)
Call: (845) 486-3423
jrosenfeld@dutchessny.gov
Ulster County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Ulster County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning: 239 Golden Hill Lane
Kingston, New York 12401
Linda Taylor-Legg
(LPPP Coordinator)
Call: (845) 340-3063
ltyl@co.ulster.ny.us
Donna Greenfield
(Public Health Ed’n Coordinator)
Call: (845) 340-3047
dgre@co.ulster.ny.us
Putnam County Complaints and Concerns for Lead Paint Hazards or Poisoning:
Putnam County Department of Health 1 Geneva Road
Brewster, New York 10509
Rebecca Wittenberg, SPHN
Program Supervisor (Nursing)
Call: (845) 808-1390 x 43126
Rebecca.Wittenberg@putnamcountyny.gov
Negligent Abatement Practices: for Complaints Related to Negligent Abatement of Lead Based Paint in Your Apartment or Home: Call or Contact:
United States Environmental Protection Agency Regional Contact: Vickie Pane — pane.vickie@epa.gov — U.S. EPA Region 2 MS-225
2890 Woodbridge Avenue Edison, NJ 08837-3679
Call: (732) 321-6671

Lead Poisoning FAQs

What is lead?

Lead is a heavy metal which, while naturally occurring, has no known benefit to humans.  It is a highly potent neurotoxin which is dangerous for all humans, and is most dangerous when people are exposed to lead as young children. Lead poses the greatest danger to children and is often found in old paint or paint dust, which may be found in older housing, such as in homes or multiple dwellings built prior to 1978. Lead paint exposure can cause irreversible brain damage as well as many other health problems, and behavioral or learning problems.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning occurs when a person (often a young child) inhales or swallows lead and it accumulates in the person’s body.  While the NY Public Health Law has defined lead poisoning as occurring at a level of  10 µg/dL (micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood) for purposes of overall health policy, the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that even low-dose lead exposure is dangerous for children and can cause irreversible brain damage.  The CDC has recognized that there is no known safe lead level.

What causes lead poisoning in children ?

The most common cause of lead poisoning in children is from peeling, chipping, or chalking of old paint.  A child can be lead poisoned simply by inhaling lead particles from paint which are airborne in the child’s living environment.  Young children are also exposed through routine hand-to-mouth activity after they have touched surfaces which were laden with lead paint dust, or by eating paint chips.

Is my landlord legally responsible for my child’s lead poisoning?

A landlord may be held liable for a child’s injuries caused by lead exposure in the child’s residence if the landlord was aware (or should have been aware) that a young child was residing there and/or where the landlord knew that the apartment/house contained a hazardous lead condition and nonetheless failed to remedy the lead condition.

I live in an apartment with a two year lease. Can my landlord evict me if I sue him as a result of my child contracting lead poisoning?

Being sued for being negligent and poisoning a young child is not typically a legal basis to evict a tenant with a lease.

How does lead paint get from the surfaces of an apartment or home (walls, windows, doors, etc.) to a child’s blood stream and body organs?

Lead-based paint often peels and chips. Often, lead paint can be found on surfaces such as door jambs or window sills or other friction/impact surfaces.  Lead paint or dust can easily be sent airborne this way, and a child can then efficiently ingest the lead paint.  Young children are also exposed through routine hand-to-mouth activity after they have touched surfaces which were laden with lead paint dust, or by eating paint chips. Once ingested, a young child’s body efficiently absorbs the lead which is deposited throughout the child’s body, including the young child’s brain.

What are the symptoms of childhood lead poisoning?

Very often there are no symptoms and for that reason blood tests that screen for elevated levels of lead in the blood are very important. Other times the child may have symptoms which may be confused with other common childhood illnesses and conditions. Some common symptoms include loss of appetite, irritability, stomach pain, or vomiting.  You can easily understand how a mother or father can miss such symptoms thinking that the issue is a virus or even just ordinary life. This is why early and regular blood tests should be performed. In fact regular testing for lead starting at an early age has become the standard of the medical care for pediatricians.

How often should our children be tested for lead?

This is a medical question best left to your pediatrician. Nevertheless, it is very important for parents to be proactive and ask that your children be tested regularly for lead, particularly if you live in older buildings. Peeling or fraying paint can be inhaled, eaten or inadvertently ingested through hand to mouth activity by children in your apartment. Poisoning can even occur in the common areas (hallways, staircases, and lobby’s) of buildings.

If my child is exposed to lead based paint will a blood test give a definitive answer as to whether he or she was poisoned?

No. A venous blood test is accurate but it is important to understand that it is only a snapshot in time. It shows the concentration of blood at the time that the blood test is administered. Lead levels decrease as the lead leaves the bloodstream and deposits itself in the body organs of the child. The fact that your child has a particular lead level does not mean that he or she has not had higher blood lead levels at other times. It depends on the actual date of the ingestion of the lead dust or lead based paint.

Is screening for lead poisoning mandatory?

Yes. Under New York State law, lead screenings must be performed at ages one and two. Medicaid also requires that screenings be performed.

How is an apartment tested for the presence of lead based paint?

An apartment can be tested to determine if the paint on the walls and other surfaces have lead contained within them. This is done either by utilizing an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine or by taking sample paint chips and having the sample tested in the laboratory.

My apartment in New York City has peeling and/or chipping paint and/or paint dust. My landlord refuses or has failed to correct the situation. How do I file a complaint with the City of New York?

You can file a complaint by calling 311 or by entering the complaint online at the New York City website located at https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc311-hpd-service-request/form.htm?execution=e3s2. The City will take the information and send down an inspector. If they determine that the condition is present, they will issue a violation to the landlord requiring the correction of the condition. This is very important as exposure to lead paint that is chipping can be dangerous to the health and welfare of your children. Follow up on the complaint by keeping a record of the complaint number. It is very important to be proactive and follow up on such a complaint until the hazards are corrected. Of course, you can contact our firm as well by following the contact instructions on this website.

My child was lead poisoned in an apartment building. When I signed my one (1) year lease, I had no idea as to the dangers of leaded paint to my children and was never informed about such dangers in older housing. Was the landlord required to give me such information before I rented my apartment?

Yes. Federal Law requires that upon signing or renewal of such a lease that the landlord give you a pamphlet prepared by The United States Environmental Protection Agency that warns about the dangers of lead based paint in older apartments and provides advice in the manner that you could protect your family. You can obtain a copy of the pamphlet on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-lead-your-home

My child was lead poisoned in an apartment in a building. After the poisoning, I was told that a prior tenant’s child was poisoned in the same apartment. Did the landlord have a duty under Federal Law to tell us that such hazards existed in the apartment?

Yes. A landlord also has disclosure requirements as to his/her knowledge of lead hazards in the housing. The analysis of this issue should be undertaken by a lawyer in the context of any prospective case that may be filed against any landlord or managing agent arising from a child’s having suffered lead poisoning from lead paint in an apartment. The disclosure form which should have been accurately filled out and provided to you by your landlord may be obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency at https://www.epa.gov/lead/lessors-disclosure-information-lead-based-paint-andor-lead-based-paint-hazards

My landlord failed to periodically paint my apartment as required by law. As a result of this neglect, we were compelled to paint the apartment ourselves. We went to a large national department store and purchased household paint. While the children were away for summer overnight camp, we used the paint to re-paint our entire apartment. We then carefully cleaned and mopped our entire apartment. Two years later our infant was diagnosed with lead poisoning. My landlord’s lawyers are claiming that we caused the lead condition when we re-painted – claiming that we bought lead based paint. How can we prove that this is not so?

The landlord’s claims are likely factually preposterous. Such assertions are sometimes presented by defendants and in almost in all cases have no validity in actual fact. This is because the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned the sale of lead based paint in all household paints starting on February 27, 1978. The only exception is for the sale of certain very limited industrial and agricultural paints that are not sold for household use and must have prominent warning labels against household use.

Is it safe to paint an apartment while children are present?

In many cases no. If a painter is scraping off old paint, this may cause coats of leaded paint and paint dust to be dispersed throughout the apartment. It is prudent that tenants not paint their own apartments.

Our apartment has a lot of white powdery dust. How can the dust be tested for the presence of lead?

Lead dust is most often found by using what is called a “dust wipe test”. The lead paint examiner will use a swab or cloth and pass it over a delineated and measured surface area. The wipe or cloth is then sealed in a container and sent to a laboratory for testing.

I am pregnant and my apartment has been found to have lead paint. Am I at risk and can my unborn child be poisoned?

Lead is a neurotoxin and is certainly dangerous for young children and pregnant women.  Lead can also be passed to a fetus in utero as well as present risks and harm to the pregnant mother.  Any person in such a circumstance should seek immediate medical attention, and this history should be made available to the baby’s pediatrician at birth.

I am pregnant. My child was diagnosed with lead poisoning. The Department of Health has tested my apartment and found a lead paint hazard. Should I be tested for lead in my blood?

Absolutely.  You should seek immediate medical attention and such medical history should be made known to the baby’s pediatrician at birth.

Does the law recognize a claim by for lead poisoning when my child was poisoned before birth?

Potentially yes.  In a case litigated by this office, a New York court has recognized that a child can make a claim for damages caused by lead from before the child was even born.

When can I sue for my unborn child’s lead exposure?

Yes, a person can sue for damages caused to their then-unborn child by lead paint in an apartment where it can be established that the landlord was negligent in maintaining the premises is a reasonably safe condition.

What kind of harm does lead poisoning cause to a child?

Lead exposure can cause irreversible brain damage.  It can cause damage to the brain, nervous system, slowed growth development, reduced IQ, learning and behavioral problems, ADHD, amongst other problems.  Lead poisoning also increases a person’s risks for other serious health problems later in life and can require lifelong medical monitoring.

My apartment has been tested by the Department of Health and they found lead paint on surfaces. The landlord wants to remove the lead while we live in the house. Should we permit it?

City, State and Federal law mandate strict procedures which must be complied with when performing a lead abatement.  In New York City, temporary removal to a lead “safe house” is typically offered prior to a lead abatement, and alternative accommodations should be provided by the landlord.  It is not recommended that one be present during the performance of a lead abatement, during which time one can be further exposed to lead paint and dust.

Should a child be living in an apartment where a lead abatement (lead paint hazard removal) is taking place?

No. See above. A child should not be present in an apartment containing lead paint until the lead hazard is removed.

My doctor says that we should move out of our apartment and go to a “safe house”. What is a safe house?

A Safe House is a place where you and your child can be temporarily relocated to while renovations are performed to your apartment in order to make it safe from lead paint hazards.  The Lead Poisoning Treatment and Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx maintains a Safe House for families whose homes are being renovated to remove lead paint.  There are also Safe Houses available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the NYC Department of Health should be available to assist in being placed at a Safe House.

 

Is that really important to move out while lead abatement work is being done in my apartment or home?

Yes.  Every exposure to a child can cause further injury so as long as there is a lead hazard in the home, your child should not be present.  This is all the more true during a lead abatement when apartment components are being disturbed and lead dust/particles are being dispersed into the air.

What medical treatments are available for lead poisoning?

While there is no known safe level of lead, and even low-dose lead exposure has been demonstrated to cause damage to children, there is no specific treatment available unless a child’s blood lead levels reach a certain level at which time a medical provider may offer chelation treatment.

Are adults at risk for lead poisoning when they live in a lead infested apartment?

Yes.  While lead is most dangerous to young children, it is a neurotoxin and is unsafe for humans of all ages.

My child was lead poisoned. What kind of medical issues will doctors have to look out for in the future?

Please consult with your child’s pediatrician.  A lead poisoned child should undergo periodic neuropsychological evaluations and be monitored for learning, attentional, and behavioral problems, amongst other potential issues.

I want to speak to a lawyer. Will there be any fee for you to evaluate our legal rights?

There is no fee to speak to us or for us to evaluate your potential case.

What role does lead paint dust have in causing lead poisoning?

Experts consider lead laden dust as the “primary pathway of childhood lead poisoning.” (See NYCCELP v. Vallone 100 N.Y. 2d at page 343.)

What degree of danger is the ingestion of lead laden dust to children?

It is highly dangerous. In 1999 HUD set standards which highlight the enormity of the public health risk associated with lead dust ingestion.

What are the HUD regulatory safety standards for lead laden dust?

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set safety standards at 40 micrograms per square foot of floor area. This amount is equivalent to less than a half of the mass of a particle of sugar.

How is lead dust ingested by children

It can be ingested by eating a paint chip or flake or simply by breathing in lead dust. It is inhaled or swallowed. Inhalation is considered by experts to be the most dangerous form of ingestion inasmuch as it is considered to be the most efficient mode of absorption and consequent poisoning of the child.

Are there laws protecting children in New York City from the hazards of lead based paint in housing?

Yes. There are Federal, State and City laws relating to lead paint in housing. In New York City, there is a body of law that was designed to protect children from the vagaries of injury from exposure to lead based paint hazards. Local Law #1 of 2004 is a set of laws that govern and apply to New York City. When the law went into effect in 2004 it was intended to stamp out lead poisoning in New York City by the year 2010. This sadly has not occurred for a variety of reasons.

Is there a definition of a “lead based paint hazard” under Local Law #1 of New York City?

Yes. It is defined as “any condition in a dwelling that causes exposure to lead contaminated dust from lead based paint that is peeling or from lead based paint that is present on chewable surfaces, deteriorated sub-surfaces, friction surfaces, or impact surfaces that would result in adverse human health effects.”(See Local Law #1 of 2004)

What is a “friction surface” under the law?

It means “any painted surface that touches or is in contact with another surface, such that the two surfaces are capable of relative motion and abrade, scrape, or bind when in relative motion.” Friction surfaces include but are not limited to “window frames, and doors, and hinges.” (Local Law #1)

What is an “impact surface” under the law

It is defined as “any interior painted surface that shows evidence, such as markings, denting, or chipping, that it is subject to damage by repeated sudden force, such as certain parts of door frames, moldings, or baseboards.” (Local Law #1)

What is a “chewable surface” under the law?

It is defined as “a protruding interior window sill in a dwelling unit in a multiple dwelling where a child of applicable age resides and which is readily accessible to such child.” The terms also means “any other type of interior edge or protrusion in a dwelling unit in a multiple dwelling, such as a rail or stair, where there is evidence that such other edge or protrusion has been chewed or where an occupant has notified the owner that a child of applicable age who resides in that multiple dwelling has mouthed or chewed such edge or protrusion.”

Why does the law focus on Chewable Surfaces, Impact Surfaces, Deteriorated Sub-surfaces and Friction Surfaces?

The law is not solely focused on these surfaces. Yet a focus of the legislation is on such areas of the home due to the fact that lead paint on impact surfaces generates lead dust through normal daily living activities. A door slamming; opening a window; a child looking out the window and putting his fingers in his or her mouth are normal everyday events in the life of any child. In a lead infested environment, normal living becomes a serious health risk. This silent and insidious poison is ingested into the bodies of young totally innocent and unsuspecting children. Oftentimes parents are equally unaware that their family is being exposed to lead. Sometimes the first awareness of a parent that an apartment is infested with lead is their child’s diagnosis. Sadly, it is too late.

What is a “child of applicable age” under the NYC Local Law #1

This depends on the time of exposure to lead. Before March 16, 2006 the age was under seven (7) years old. By resolution adopted on March 16, 2006, The Department of Health set the age at less than six (6) years of age.

Under Local Law #1 of 2004, what are the duties of the landlord to correct a lead hazard in multiple dwellings in New York City?

A landlord has the duty to provide a safe and habitable premises to tenants. A landlord has various duties to remedy all reasonably foreseeable occurrences of lead paint hazards. There are many duties owed by a landlord some of which will be explored more fully in this frequently asked questions section. For any specific concerns it is advisable to promptly consult knowledgeable counsel.

Under Local Law #1, does a landlord have any continuing duties to maintain a lead safe environment in dwellings that children less than 6 reside?

Yes, a landlord has a continuing duty in any housing that a young child resides to make certain that any potentially lead based paint which may exist in the apartment remains intact and safe for those present in the apartment.

Does the landlord have a duty to remediate lead hazards and to prevent reasonably forseeable lead hazards from occurring?

Yes.

Does a landlord have the duty to find out if a child less than 6 years of age resides in an apartment in a multiple dwelling in New York?

Yes. The landlord is required to ascertain whether a child resides in a dwelling unit. They must make yearly inquiry and the forms which they must use are promulgated by the Department of Housing Preservation of the City of New York. Of course, the tenant has a duty to keep the landlord apprised so if a child begins to reside in the premises after the annual notice is answered, the landlord will be on notice under the law. The form used by a landlord and tenant can be obtained online at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/lead/lead-annual-notice.pdf

If a tenant fails to send back the inquiry form, does the landlord have to take any further steps to determine whether a child of requisite age resides in the apartment?

Yes. The landlord then has a window of time designated by the law to make an inspection to determine whether a child of requisite age resides in the dwelling. If he fails to gain access to perform the inspection, he then must notify a city agency known as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of the situation.

Does the landlord have to make an annual inspection to determine the condition of the apartment?

Yes.  Local Law #1 of 2004 also requires an annual inspection of any apartment where a child of applicable age resides  for the purpose of determining whether the apartment has a hazardous lead condition(s) present.

My landlord wants to perform repairs that involves opening up a wall in my apartment to perform plumbing repairs. I have a child who is less than 6 years of age. Does the landlord have to utilize safeguards to protect us from the disruption of the paint?

Yes. When major plumbing or any intrusive work disturbs the integrity of the walls of an apartment, the landlord must utilize properly trained persons using safe practices. Often, landlords and management companies cause and create hazardous conditions in buildings when they fail to follow the law and do not utilize trained and licensed lead abatement contractors and/or fail to follow safe practices. If a child is poisoned as a result of such practices, they may have a claim for damages against the offending parties.

I recently moved into an apartment in a building built before 1960 in New York City. I have young children. I am concerned about the potential of leaded paint being present on the old door frames and window sills and frames. I have not been told and/or provided by my landlord with any documentation demonstrating that they did any lead abatement in order to comply with the turnover law, before we moved into the apartment. The landlord says that the apartment in “lead safe”. They refuse to give me any other information. Are they complying with the law?

The turnover provision requires that a landlord performing work in compliance with the turnover provision, must perform and give to the occupant of the apartment lead dust clearance test results after the work and cleanup is completed. The results must be accompanied with a sufficiently clear explanation of the meaning of the results.

How do I obtain the actual work records showing that a properly trained and certified company performed the required work?

This may be more difficult outside the context of litigation. You should request such records in writing from the landlord. Request that they maintain such records of purported compliance with the turnover provisions of Local Law #1 of 2004 for the complete duration of your tenancy.

Beyond that, it is prudent to consult with a lawyer who will give you guidance on any right which you may have in obtaining such lead abatement work records. Obviously, such records may be evidence that the required work was actually performed by appropriate contractors and completed correctly. As a tenant, you are not in a position to be aware of the landlord’s compliance with the law absent access to such records.

Are there any statutes or Rules and Regulations that require the landlord to make full disclosure of his compliance with the turnover provisions of Local Law #1, directly to a tenant outside the context of litigation?

YES. The City of New York, imposed a requirement that landlords certify in writing to new tenants that all turnover work was in fact done and completed. HPD’s implementing rules state that with respect to work at turnover of a vacant apartment, an owner shall maintain or transfer to a subsequent owner records of work performed in dwelling units pursuant to this section in accordance with the record keeping requirements of § 11-06(c). In addition, the owner must make such records available to the new occupant of the dwelling unit upon the tenant’s request.

What does the landlord actually have to give me regarding their knowledge of lead hazards?

Under Federal Law, HUD and EPA have promulgated joint Regulations which require the landlord to make certain lead paint disclosures to a tenant (lessee) upon entering into a lease. The Regulation and form required thereunder mandates that the landlord disclose the presence of lead based paint and/or a lead based paint hazard that is known to them. Or, they must represent that that they have no such knowledge. If they have records and reports pertaining to lead based paint and/or lead based paint hazards in the “housing” – they must provide the records to the tenant.

• They must disclose to the leasee the presence of any lead based paint or lead based paint hazards, which are defined as conditions that cause exposure to lead from lead contaminated dust and/or lead contaminated paint that is deteriorated.

• It also requires disclosure of lead based paint on any accessible surface.

• The disclosure requirement extends to leaded paint on friction surfaces which is addressed by the turnover law as well.

• There is a confluence between the requirements mandated by the NYC Turnover Provision under Local Law #1 of 2004 and the Federal mandates under the EPA and HUD Regulations. The disclosure requirements under the EPA/HUD Regulations extend beyond and supplements the NYC Turnover Law disclosure mandate.

What does that mean to the landlord? What are his requirements of transparency and disclosure when he rents an apartment? The Regulations require that he disclose any information which may be available concerning the known lead based paint or lead based paint hazards. Local Law #1 of 2004 requires that he turn over the dust clearance test results with an explanation. The Federal mandate extends to the unit and to common areas in the building.

What other disclosure does a landlord have to provide to a lessee regarding lead hazards?

The landlord must provide to the leasee with an EPA pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home”. This important disclosure makes plain to the reader, the dangers to children of lead based paint. It details how lead gets into the body of a child. How lead affects the health of the child. It also provides information regarding what a parent can do to protect their family. It lists Federal agencies which can be contacted by a tenant in connection with such issues.

If I do not have a written lease, am I covered by the Federal EPA and HUD Regulations requiring disclosure of lead based paint hazards?

Short term leases of less than 100 days are excluded from the EPA/HUD Regulation where no renewal or extension can occur. Obviously, this would appear to exclude hotels and motels from the ambit of the law.

If a landlord refuses to give a lease will that exempt him from the requirements of the law?

There are times that we have encountered landlords seeking to skirt these Regulations by refusing to provide leases to tenants. In such cases, a month to month tenancy is not terminable by its terms in less than one hundred days. Therefore, the EPA has determined that the Regulation indeed applies and the landlord must make all disclosure to the month to month tenant. They must provide the required pamphlet informing the tenant of the dangers of lead based paint. They must make all other disclosures required under the Regulation.

My landlord did not provide any disclosure as to the presence of lead based paint in our apartment nor were we provided with the Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home pamphlet. What are the penalties under Federal Law for non-compliance?

Penalties for non-compliance with the EPA and HUD Regulations may include the following:

1. It creates what is called a private right of action for the tenant. This private right of action allows for you to sue the landlord for any damages arising from his/her breach of the responsibilities mandated by the EPA/HUD Regulations.

2. Knowing violators may be liable to the lessee for triple ( 3X ) damages.

3. The landlord may be liable for the leases attorney’s fees.

4. The landlord may be liable for the leasee’s expert witness fees.

5. The court may impose up to $10,000 in civil penalties.

6. There are criminal penalties of up to one year in jail for knowing violation.

7. They will be liable for any other damages arising from such violation.

Under Local Law #1 of 2004, does a landlord have a duty to investigate for lead hazards in premises where a young child resides?

Yes. The landlord must conduct inspections to determine if any hazardous conditions exist. These duties are spelled out by the law.

In New York City, are there any laws protecting children in day care facilities from lead-based paint hazards?

Yes. The Administrative Code of the City of New York Section 17-910 addresses this issue.

My child attends a day care facility and I observed chipping paint from a baseboard. The building was built before World War II and I am concerned. Does this violate the law?

Yes. Section 17-911 of The Administrative Code of the City of New York, provides that there shall be no peeling lead-based paint in any portion of a day care facility. Section 17-910 provides that all paint or surface coating material on the interior of any day care center is presumed to be lead-based paint.

What can I do to protect my child attending a day care center which has chipping paint on door, baseboard or wall surfaces?

Bring the condition to the attention of the facility and call 311 and report the condition. This must be remedied promptly given the potential hazard that the condition presents to vulnerable children.

Is the presumption that the paint is leaded final?

No. Of course, the day care facility may rebut that presumption by submitting actual proof that the surface was tested and found not to contain illegal levels of leaded paint. This proof must be accompanied by a sworn statement of the owner or operator of the day care center and other proof demonstrating that the surface did not contain leaded paint in violation of the law and that testing was performed by a properly certified inspector and/or risk assessor.

If a child was lead poisoned at a day care facility, can I sue the facility to recover damages?

Yes. The violation of the duties owed under common law and New York City and New York State law can certainly be the basis of holding the day care facility legally responsible for any damage arising and causally related to such violations.

My child is in a pre-K program at a day care facility run by a school. Is that considered a child care facility under the New York City statute?

Yes and subject to the certain limitations. By the terms of that law, a day care facility means any service which during all or part of a day regularly gives care to seven or more children under 6 years of age. The law also states that the care not be for children all of common parentage. It also must operate more than five hours per week for more than a month a year. The law also provides that the term day care facility does not include kindergarten or higher in a facility owned by the board of education (DOE).

I have a child in a public school kindergarten in the City of New York. This is not a day care facility. Are there any laws which protect my child from the hazards of lead based paint?

Yes. NYC Health Code Section 45.12 prohibits peeling leaded paint or any peeling paint of unknown lead content from any kindergarten operated by the Department of Education of the City of New York. The Department of Education must annually survey the physical condition of all painted surfaces in classrooms as well as other areas used by children under the age of 6 years.

Are operators of day care facilities required to periodically inspect their facility for the presence of chipping and or peeling lead paint?

Yes. The operators of a day care facility must conduct annual surveys and more often if required, in order to determine the condition of surface paint throughout the facility.

Under Local Law #1 of 2004, what is the definition of “lead contaminated dust”?

Local Law #1 of 2004, sets forth a definition of the meaning of lead contaminated dust. The law states that “lead contaminated dust” means dust containing lead at a mass per area concentration of 40 or more micrograms per square foot on a floor, 250 or more micrograms per square foot on a window sill, and 400 or more micrograms per square foot on window wells or such more stringent standards as may be adopted by the department of health and mental hygiene. The samples must be taken by a properly trained person who will utilize proper protocol in accurately testing the location.

My landlord wants to perform lead dust testing in my apartment. How should I ensure that it is done properly?

It is important that you obtain and record the name of the entity that is performing the testing and confirm that the person conducting the testing is a properly certified person who has been trained in lead testing. Ask to see his/her documentation attesting to certification and take a picture of it with your cell phone if at all possible. We always try to video-tape such testing, as the manner that lead samples are removed or lead dust is tested can influence the test results rendering them unreliable and possibly inaccurate. Remember, carefully document the person’s qualifications and try to create a record of the manner of testing. It is always prudent to retain a lead poisoning lawyer as early as you can after learning that there may be a lead paint issue in your apartment. In New York lead poisoning lawyers can be helpful in guiding you in assembling evidence that may be important in the event that you end up in litigation.

I called 311 to complain about chipping paint in my apartment. I have a child who is 3 years old and she has previously tested positive for elevated lead levels in her blood. How long does the City of New York have in order to conduct an inspection of my apartment?

Under Local Law #1 of 2004, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has ten (10) days after receiving a complaint to inspect an apartment. In the event HPD is unable to obtain access to the apartment in order to perform an inspection it must make a second attempt within five (5) days of their first attempt to inspect. They are supposed to use an X-ray fluorescence analyzer to test for lead in the apartment if possible. If for reasons beyond the control of HPD the X-ray fluorescence analyzer is unavailable, then the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) can rely on the presumption provided under Local Law #1 as to the existence of leaded paint. If you have any questions regarding this process, it is important to contact a knowledgeable lead poisoning lawyer who can guide you through the process.

I am the owner of a condominium unit in the City of New York. Are the provisions of Local Law #1 applicable to my apartment? My child was diagnosed with an elevated lead level and the management company never advised me that there was any lead in my apartment.

Under Section 27-2056.15 ( c ) condominiums and cooperatives are treated under Local Law #1 as  non-multiple dwellings. The owner and his or her immediate family are excluded from many of the protective provisions of this law. On the other hand there is a complex web of state, city and federal laws which may be applicable to your factual situation. Liability may attach for the negligence of other persons or entities under other laws. It is very important to consult a knowledgeable lead poisoning lawyer in New York and not rely on a brief cursory review of the situation by someone not well versed in the applicable laws. The lawyer practicing in the area of lead paint poisoning will review all of the facts and circumstances of your case to determine, what if any legal rights your child may have.

I rent my apartment from an owner of a condominium and my child was poisoned by lead based paint that was chipping on a friction surface. Is my child afforded the protections of Local Law #1 of 2004 or will the child be excluded from the protections of Local Law #1 under 27-2056.15 ( c )?

The provisions of the law provide that the owner and his or her family are excluded from many of the protections of Local Law #1 of 2004.  There is another related provision of the law 28 R.C.N.Y. Section 11-12 which makes clear, in our view, that the exclusion provided under Section 27-2056.15 ( c )  applies only to the owner and his or her immediate family. This appears to exclude the sub-leasing family for the exclusion of that law.

If I sublease a condominium or cooperative apartment, who is legally responsible for the presence of the lead based paint and the damages sustained by my lead poisoned child?

As in all cases involving childhood lead poisoning caused by lead based paint or lead contaminated dust, this is a complex question and the lawyer will have to examine all of the facts and circumstances to make such a determination. The condominium or cooperative corporation, the managing agent, the lessor and in some cases other parties involved may be held liable for their negligence.

My landlord performed what he called as a lead abatement in my apartment after the Department of Health issued several violation for the presence of lead based paint and dust on a window sill and window well in our living room. He removed both windows and enclosures. I saw him vacuum the carpet after they were done with a regular Hoover vacuum that you can buy at any appliance store for household use. Is that sufficient?

The short answer is no. In order to properly clean up after the dispersal of lead contaminated dust has likely been spread in an apartment, several things have to be done. The use of a Hoover vacuum cleaner likely further spreads the hazard. What must be used is a HEPA-vacuum. Under 28 R.C.N.Y. 11-02 a HEPA-vacuum is defined as a “vacuum cleaner device equipped with a high efficiency particulate air filter capable of filtering out monodispersive particles of 0.3 microns or greater in diameter from a body of air at 99.97 percent efficiency or greater”.  When an abatement fails to follow the law, the risk of dispersal of the hazardous lead contaminated dust is increased.


The New York City “turnover Provisions” of Local Law #1 of 2004

What is the definition of a “turnover” in the context of the obligations of a landlord to correct a lead paint hazard in a New York City apartment?

A “turnover” means the occupancy of a dwelling unit after the termination of a tenancy upon the vacatur by a tenant after the effective date of Local Law #1 of 2004 to wit: August 2, 2004. What this means is that any new tenant who commenced his/her tenancy after August 2, 2004 is afforded the protections granted by Local Law #1 and a landlord has the corresponding duties with respect to lead abatement as set forth in the law to this/these new tenant(s) before they move in.

What are the legal obligations of a New York City landlord to the new tenant when an apartment becomes vacant in any apartment (not just a multiple dwelling; when it is to be inhabited by persons other than the owner or the owners family) after August 2, 2004?

1. He must remediate all lead based paint hazards (defined as: “any condition in a dwelling that causes exposure to lead contaminated dust from lead based paint that is peeling or from lead based paint that is present on chewable surfaces, deteriorated sub-surfaces, friction surfaces, or impact surfaces that would result in adverse human health effects”) and any underlying defects when such defects exist. (27-2056.8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York)

2. He must make “all bare floors, window sills and window wells in the dwelling unit smooth and cleanable”. (27-2056.8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York)

3. He must “provide for the removal or permanent covering of all lead based paint on all friction surfaces on all doors and door frames”. (27-2056.8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York)

4. 1. He must “provide for the removal or permanent covering of all lead based paint on all friction surfaces on all windows, or provide for the installation of replacement window channels or slides on all lead based painted friction surfaces on all windows”. (27-2056.8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York)

What is the legal significance of the “turnover provisions” of Local Law #1 of 2004?

It is important to realize that the provisions of this law and the clearly defined duties noted above are not limited to apartment buildings and buildings that have three (3) or more separate apartments. They protect everyone (other than the landlords own family and dwelling). These turnover provisions are increasingly impactful as they apply to an overwhelmingly large universe of apartments in the City of New York due to the passage of time since Local Law #1 of 2004 became effective and thus many cases involve tenants who have moved in after August 2, 2004. These turnover obligations go well beyond the other protections afforded by Local Law #1 of 2004, to children less than six (6) years of age, inasmuch as the turnover provision duties have no age limitation. There are no residency limitations written into the turnover law. There is a clear and unequivocal affirmative duty to perform the abatement before new tenants move into the apartment thereby safeguarding the new tenants (and others) from the hazards of lead based paint.

How do I obtain the actual work records showing that a properly trained and certified company performed the required work?

This may be more difficult outside the context of litigation. You should request such records in writing from the landlord. Request that they maintain such records of purported compliance with the turnover provisions of Local Law #1 of 2004 for the complete duration of your tenancy.

Beyond that, it is prudent to consult with a lawyer who will give you guidance on any right which you may have in obtaining such lead abatement work records. Obviously, such records may be evidence that the required work was actually performed by appropriate contractors and completed correctly. As a tenant, you are not in a position to be aware of the landlord’s compliance with the law absent access to such records.

What is the penalty imposed by Local Law #1 for a violation of the turnover provisions?

Any owner who violates the law is liable for a class C immediately hazardous violation. The violations of this section may also be evidence of negligence. If such violation causes injury to others civil legal liability may ensue.

My landlord has refused to give me records of the “turnover” work which he was required to perform before I moved into my apartment. What types of records was he required to maintain?

The law requires that he maintain very detailed records. The records include the following items:

  1. The name, address and telephone number of the person(s) or entity which performed the work purportedly performed. We have found that in some cases landlords contend that they have performed work in compliance with the law but when called upon to provide documentation and proof, they have been unable to locate the records. The law mandates that they maintain the records for a period of 10 years from the date of the completion of the work. If they sell or transfer the building to a new owner, then the landlord who performed the work must transfer the turnover repair records to the new owner and the new owner must maintain such records for the duration of that 10 year record keeping period. It is important to note that once a law suit is commenced, the defendant has a continuing duty to maintain the records. Assuming the suit is commenced before the expiration of that 10 year period, the owner would arguably be required to maintain the records beyond that 10 year period. The defendant in a law may not destroy relevant records and that should be at least until the resolution of the law suit. If they destroy the records during the law suit, the court may impose sanctions for spoliation of evidence.
  2. The landlord must also keep a copy of all licenses and training certificates of the persons or entities which performed the work and dust clearance tests.
  3. A detailed rendition of the work with records of where the work was performed and all receipts related to such work.
  4. All lead test results must be kept for that 10 year period.
  5. They must keep checklists completed when occupants are allowed temporary access to the premises during work.

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