N.Y.: Lead-Based Paint Law Puts Burden on Building Owners

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

Nick Gromicko

I much prefer email to private messages.

Originally Posted By: jpeck
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An easy way to defend your position (or hang yourself) is to have a prospective tenant either sign a release or have their lead levels tested prior to occupancy.

Now, if a problem is alleged, you pull out the pre-occupancy results and compare that to the post-occupancy results.

It would also be better to test every year or every two years, so you (both the tenant and the landlord) would have advance notice of a problem.

Even with a pre-test and post-test, the elevated lead levels could be caused from exposure at work, at school, during transit, from recreation, etc., but at least the landlord would have advance notice that something was happening. Then, the landlord could compare the other tenants to the one complaining, all okay except that one? Probably not their problem. All tenants lead levels rising? Whoa, sell the building and burn the test results. ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)

Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: rpaul
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Here in New York State, if you own a building that is known for LEAD you can not rent the Apartment to anyone who has kids 7 years old or younger.

I know a person sued because of a child having high Lead, the one thing about it is nothing else in this child's atmosphere was tested except for the place where the child lived. The case went on for 9.5 years and insurance findly settled. $360,000! Ouch!
New York City is not the only one with the problem any town with old houses. I am not sure if this has effected the insurances companies up here yet but I am sure it will. Then to get a clearance from lead the building has to be xrrayed. Then you have to be certified to do anything with Lead. That cost a whole lot of $$$$$$$$$.


Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Here in New York State, if you own a building that is known for LEAD you can not rent the Apartment to anyone who has kids 7 years old or younger.

This statement is simply not true. NY Real Property law simply places the burden of providing a lead paint disclosure form to the prospective tenant or buyer. That is all. The rules in NYC are the same. The main difference with this law is that if a child tests positive for lead poisoning, the source may be considered the child's dwelling, unless the landlord can prove otherwise. I suspect this will be challenged and defeated in the courtts, as children spend time in old school boildings, many of which still contain lead-based paint.

As a side note, I tell all my clients that the possibility is high that if the home was built prior to 1978, it may contain lead-based paint on the interior or exterior. Homes built prior to 1965 almost certainly contain lead based baint somewhere. The lead paint disclosure form is a joke, and provides a way for the Seller to simply state that they do not know if the house contains lead-based paint.

Lead based paint was actually available in commercial paints up until 1984. That notwithstanding, any home constructed prior to 1978 may have lead-based paint. Many apartments do. Many apartmentt complexes rent to families with children under 7 years old. Now, we have learned what the law now states in NY City, but it does not apply to apartments , en masse, outside of the City.

Garden apartments abound in my town. We all know they have lead based paint. They do not get remediated. They are rented to families every day.

Rickey, where'd you get this from?

Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."