Local Law 55: Perform Indoor Allergen Hazard Inspections by Dec. 31

In New York City, Local Law 55 of 2018, the Asthma-Free Housing Act, requires that owners of buildings with three or more apartments keep their tenants’ apartments free of mold and pests. Under this law, an owner of multiple dwellings is required to inspect units annually for indoor allergen hazards, such as mice, cockroaches, rats, and mold. And it requires safely fixing the conditions that cause these problems.

In New York City, Local Law 55 of 2018, the Asthma-Free Housing Act, requires that owners of buildings with three or more apartments keep their tenants’ apartments free of mold and pests. Under this law, an owner of multiple dwellings is required to inspect units annually for indoor allergen hazards, such as mice, cockroaches, rats, and mold. And it requires safely fixing the conditions that cause these problems.

Owner Obligations

HPD’s rules implementing Local Law 55 detail the work practices to be used by owners in performing the work to remediate indoor allergen hazards such as mold, cockroaches, mice, and rats. The rules also provide a sample form for owners to use in providing notice to tenants as required under the law, as well as procedures for submitting certifications of correction of such violations and requesting postponements of the time period to correct such violations. Under the new law, owners must do the following:

Perform annual inspections in each dwelling unit and common area of the building. Owners must annually inspect units for indoor allergen hazards such as mice, cockroaches, rats, and mold, and respond to any complaints received directly from tenants or HPD. We’ve provided a Sample Investigation Form below that you can use to keep a record of inspections or investigations performed.

Remove asthma triggers upon apartment turnover. Owners must make sure vacant apartments are thoroughly cleaned and free of pests and mold before a new tenant moves in.

Provide fact sheet and notice. Owners must provide the “What Tenants and Landlords Should Know About Indoor Allergens and Local Law 55” fact sheet and a notice with each tenant’s lease that clearly states the property owner’s responsibilities to keep the building free of indoor allergens. The fact sheet can be found at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/asthma/local-law-55.pdf. The notice with each lease can be found at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/services/indoor-allergen-hazards-notices.pdf.

Remediate pest infestation. Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to address pest infestations. The safe work practices in Section 27-2017.9 of Local Law 55 and 28 Rules of the City of New York Section 54-04 must be followed when assessing and correcting any underlying defects (such as moisture) that may have caused the infestation. IPM requires:

  • Removal of pest nests and thorough cleaning of pest waste and other debris by using a HEPA vacuum, washing surfaces, or otherwise collecting and discarding such debris. Make sure to limit the spread of dust when cleaning.
  • Elimination of points of entry and passage for pests by repairing and sealing any holes, gaps or cracks in walls, ceilings, floors, molding, base boards, around pipes and conduits, and around and within cabinets by using sealants, plaster, cement, wood, escutcheon plates, or other durable material.
  • Removal of all sources of water for pests by repairing drains, faucets, and other plumbing materials that accumulate water or leak.
  • Attachment of door sweeps to all doors that lead to hallways, basements, or outside.
  • Use pesticides sparingly. Pursuant to Administration Code Section 27-2017.8 of Local Law 55, any pesticide applied to eradicate the presence of pests must by applied by a pest professional licensed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Remediate mold conditions. Owners of residential properties with 10 or more units are required to hire a NYS Department of Labor-licensed mold assessor and remediator (these two contractors must be completely independent of each other) to assess and remediate conditions whenever there’s more than 10 square feet of mold.

To find a licensed mold contractor in your area, use the NYS Department of Labor's Licensed Mold Contractors Search Tool at www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/licensed-mold-contractors-search-tool.shtm. These licensed workers must comply with NYC Administrative Code Section 24-154 and NYS Labor Law Article 32.

Additional information and a portal for the contractors to file required documentation under Local Law 61 of 2018 with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can be found on DEP's Air Pollution web page at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/environment/air-pollution-regulations.page. Copies of these filing receipts must be given to the owner by the contractors after filing, and HPD requires copies of these same documents to be filed with a Certification of Correction for Class B and Class C mold violations issued in buildings with 10 or more units.

For owners who aren’t required to use professionals as outlined above, whether the removal is completed by a mold remediator or the owner/owner's representative, safe work practices are required for mold removal. These practices include:

  • Removing any standing water and fixing leaks or moisture conditions.
  • Isolating the work area with plastic sheeting and covering egress pathways.
  • Limiting the spread of dust. Use methods such as sealing off openings (such as doorways, ventilation ducts) and gently misting the molding area with soap and water before cleaning.
  • Cleaning mold with soap or detergent and water. Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • Removing and discarding materials that can’t be cleaned properly.
  • Throwing away all cleaning-related waste in heavy-duty plastic bags.
  • Cleaning any visible dust from the work area with wet mops or HEPA vacuums.
  • Leaving the work area dry and visibly free from mold, dust, and debris.