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Brooklyn Property Management Blog of ProRealty

What you need to know about Local Law 31 and the new lead based paint inspection laws.

Local Law 31 of 2020: New Required Testing for the Presence of Lead-Based Paint 

Brooklyn Property Management Blog of ProRealty

What you need to know about Local Law 31 and the new lead based paint inspection laws.

What is Local Law 31 of 2020?

Local Law 31 of 2020 is the current revision that orders XRF ( X-Ray fluorescence ) lead inspection by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified inspectors to evaluate for the presence of lead-based paint in old residential “multiple dwelling” buildings.  Local law 31 take effect last August 9, 2020. It covers a 5-year testing requirement, which means that all residential building owners in NYC should have all dwelling units inspected for lead paint by August 9, 2025.

The update last February 11, 2021, states that these new paint rules also pertain to the smaller landlords and property owners far from the preceding years. Multiple dwellings include one and two-family house rentals, excluding the family owner’s unit.

How harmful is lead?

Lead is a toxic metal element that can create a hazardous effect on health.  Not just the children and pregnant women are at risk of lead, but it can harm anyone.  Lead can unconsciously be ingested by touching an object, which has lead by placing your hands in your mouth.  Some workers are exposed to lead by breathing lead dust or fumes during construction activities such as renovations, demolitions, and repairs.

Lead poisoning can damage the nervous system; delayed growth can cause kidney damage and developmental delay.  Lead is hazardous to children, and can high exposure to this chemical is detrimental.

Lead-based paint hazards.

In 1960 lead-based paint was banned in New York City but remained in the older building. According to the nyc.gov website, lead paint hazards includes:

  • Dust from peeling paint.
  • Damaged or peeled lead paint.
  • Crumbling plaster or rotten wood lead paint.
  • Lead paint on crumbling plaster or rotted wood.
  • Lead paint on doors and windows that stick or rub together.
  • Lead paint on window sills and any other surfaces that children have chewed on.

The landlord is responsible for repairing the peeling paint condition, and if the landlord does not restore the paint condition, the tenants have the right to complain online or thru call.

Safety precautions on lead-based paint.

As a parent or guardian, you can take charge of your child’s safety regarding lead-based paint.  If there is a child below six residing in a building built before January 1, 1960, the tenants should: 

  • Regularly wash floors, window sills, hands, toys, and pacifiers.
  • If you notice any peeling paint throughout the year, report it immediately to your landlords for the surface to be repaired right away.
  • If there is dust during the construction work, make sure that your child is not around the work area and ensure that the workers have partition over the work area from the apartment. Dust that is not contained or cleaned created from this work must be reported daily to 311.
  • It is also essential to remind your doctor to conduct a lead poison test on children ages two below.

Mandatory testing for units with children under age 6.

Until August 9, 2025, a unit with a child under 6 resides must undergo XRF inspections. Nevertheless, the owner must comply with performing XRF inspections until August 9, 2021.

The term “resides” has a broader meaning; the child under six who visits and spends time in a pre-1960 building regularly for more than 10 hours per week must undergo the XRF testing even though the child does not live in the property.

XRF Analyzer testing.

It is a specialized machine with radioactive isotopes and is used to detect a sample surface’s elemental composition.

Specially trained professionals are the ones using handheld XRF analyzers to know the presence of lead hazards. These professionals are called EPA-certified lead professionals. It requires an hour to complete the test and come out with a detailed report of findings of all suspected surfaces. The XRF report must be handy readily available to HPD upon request.

Affected properties.

  • Rental properties, like condo buildings and Co-ops.
  • Multi-family unit built on or after January 1, 1960, and before January 1, 1978
  • A property that an under six child resides or spends more than 10 hours per week and the owner acknowledges that lead-based paint is present in the property.

According to the nyc.gov website, unless a property owner tested the surface and kept the testing document, they must speculate that the paint is lead-based and observe the law for doing any types of work that could damage a lead-based paint surface. When the owner has tested the entire property, it should have HPD’s Exemption application below.

Areas to be inspected.

A visual inspection must perform at least once a year. It includes all the surfaces of each room of each unit, including the cabinets and closets. An owner can request a visual inspection for any peeling paint, damage subsurfaces, friction and impact surfaces, and chewable surfaces.

In any given instance below, the owners must perform an inspection more than once a year:

  • If there is a reasonable evident condition that can lead to a lead-based paint hazard.
  • If the tenant makes a complaint regarding the condition of a lead-based paint hazard.
  • If the tenant requests an inspection.
  • If the HPD issues a correction of a violation, that probably causes a lead-based paint hazard.


Refusal to provide entry.

When there is an instance that the unit owner does not have access to perform inspection, they must write a statement that describes the endeavor to enter the unit. It requires the following :

  • Written notice to the tenant via registered mail or first class mail with mailing information notifying the tenant of the need to access the unit.
  • A declaration is describing why access is not granted.

These documents must be kept for ten years, each one of two, the date of completion or last period the attempt to access made.

Additionally, the property owner must make the documents handy and available upon the request of the tenant.


When a renovation takes place or a Capital project ongoing in a common area of the property or building, the general contractor must hold a HIC license and EPA certification.

ProRealty, Brooklyn based Property Management company handles the scheduling and oversees all necessary testing at your property.

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