Originally Posted By: gromicko
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(August 23, 2004) – A New York City law that went into effect Aug. 2 will make it more difficult for owners of multifamily rental buildings built before 1960 to obtain insurance coverage, says Damian Testa, president of Kaye Insurance Associates, an insurance brokerage.
"The New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2003" (Local Law No. 1) states that paint on the walls of any multiple dwelling built before 1960 is presumed to be lead-based, unless the building owner can provide proof to the contrary. The proof must be supported by lead-based paint testing or sampling results "and such other proof as the department [of health and mental hygiene] may require," the law says.
"The law changes the landlord's position," Testa says. "Before, if someone complained about high-lead content paint, they had to provide evidence to support their claim. Now, the building owner is guilty until proven innocent if the building was built before 1960. The building owner has to pay to do testing to prove his innocence."
As a result, Testa says, most insurance carriers will automatically exclude all multifamily residential buildings built before 1960. He also predicts more lawsuits and suspects legal defense costs will skyrocket.
"I'd hate to be a small landlord in New York City right now," says Testa. He says those who'll suffer most are the people who saved for years to buy a small multifamily building so they could live in one unit and rent out the rest.
The rate of lead poisoning in New York City had been dropping for the previous 12 years so the previous law was working pretty well, he says. Unfortunately, landlords weren't paying attention until after the new law was passed.
?By Pat Taylor for REALTOR? Magazine Online
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