Must You Inspect for Lead Paint When There’s No Child or Peeling Paint in Apartment?

Q Under the new lead legislation, if an apartment is presumed to have lead, but there is no peeling paint and no child living in the apartment, do you have to have it inspected? If lead is found, what do you have to do?

A Unless a unit has an HPD-issued exemption from the presumption of lead paint, an owner must use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified inspector or risk assessor, independent of the owner or any firm hired to perform lead-based paint remediation, to perform a x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer inspection to test for the presence of lead-based paint.

The inspection must take place within five years of the effective date of the law (by Aug. 9, 2025) or within one year if a child under the age of 6 comes to reside in the unit (whichever is sooner). As of Jan. 1, 2020, the term “reside” now means that a child under 6 years of age lives in the dwelling unit in a pre-1960 building, or a child under 6 years of age routinely spends 10 or more hours per week in such a dwelling unit.

In other words, owners have until Aug. 9, 2025, to have their units inspected for lead. But if a child under age 6 resides in the unit or moves into the unit, the owner must have an XRF inspection performed within the year. If lead is found, the requirements of Local Law 1 apply. With no peeling paint or deteriorated surfaces, owners would be required to perform an annual investigation and confirm that paint is intact or fix deteriorated paint using safe work practices.

For more information on complying with all the up-to-date rules regarding lead-based paint, see the 2021 edition of the New York City Apartment Management Checklist; note that Chapter 23 covers Local Law 31 of 2020.