City reaches settlement with landlord who violated lead paint rules

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The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and
Development (HPD) has reached a settlement agreement with a building owner to
correct 42 lead-based paint violations across his four buildings in the Bronx
and Queens.

After months of litigation, Ved Parkash agreed to pay
$60,000 in civil penalties and correct violations under Local Law 1 of 2004
(LL1), New York City’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act.

The HDP said Parkash has already made significant progress
in addressing the lead related conditions and HPD continues to monitor
compliance with the settlement for these four buildings.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, there is no
safe level of lead exposure in children. HPD has been working with property
owners to make sure they understand and comply with their responsibilities
under the expanded law, and cracking down when they do not, as in this latest
case,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll.

“As a part of LeadFreeNYC, HPD is committed to keeping
children safe from lead through enhanced enforcement, education, and resources
for property owners to make good on their obligations.”

In the past fiscal year, even with Housing Court limited in
its capacity, HPD has continued to initiate cases seeking correction of
lead-based violations and compelling owners to complete work to comply with
turnover requirements under LL1.

The four buildings subject to this Order to Correct are: 1585
White Plains Road, Bronx: 12 lead-based violations in 10 units

58 East 190 Street, Bronx: 
9 lead-based violations in 7 units

90-60 179 Street, Queens (pictured top) : 24 lead-based paint in 22 units,

150-02 88 Ave, Queens: 13 lead-based paint violations in 10 units

58 Est 109th Street

The owner has until August 29 to correct conditions at all
four buildings, and a provision in the Order allows HPD to bring the cases back
for additional civil penalties if the violations are not corrected in time.

The majority of violations were issued based on HPD’s audit
of the buildings, which found that the owner failed to maintain records related
to lead-based activities in the building; specifically, 42 of the violations
were issued in apartments for which the owner failed to keep records about
lead-based paint inspections and abatement on turnover. 

Additional building-wide violations were issued for failure
to maintain records specifically related to annual inspections and
investigations and for failure to maintain all other records required under
Local Law 1.

Although some of these record keeping violations cannot be
corrected for past periods, the owner will be under order to maintain these
records going forward and HPD will require submission for the next year.  HPD also required correction of any and all
open lead-based paint hazard violations, which would be issued in apartments
where a child under six resides and there is peeling paint that has not been
proven to be lead-free.

Children exposed to lead may face serious, irreversible harm
that has long-term effects, including brain and nervous system damage, reduced
educational attainment, and delays in hearing and speech. Children under the
age of three are at greatest risk for exposure due to hand-to-mouth activity
and because their rapidly growing bodies can readily absorb lead.

 Preventing exposure before it occurs and reducing future exposures are therefore the only effective ways to protect children from lead’s deleterious effects. To learn more about landlord and tenant requirements under LL1, as well as about how to protect your family from lead exposure, call 311 or visit the City’s Lead Free NYC page. 

150-02 88th Street

HPD’s Office of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services works to rigorously enforce LL1, which requires that rental property owners take proactive steps to protect children from lead-based paint exposure.

Requirements for tenant-occupied rental properties built before 1960 include:

Annually determining apartments where a child under 6
“resides”, which as of January 2020 means a child is routinely spending 10
hours or more hours a week in the unit

Inspecting those units and the common areas of the those
building for lead-based paint hazards

Remediating hazards in those units and common areas using
safe work practices and certified contractors

Remediating lead-based paint hazards and abating window and
door friction surfaces in all units at unit turnover

Testing for lead-based paint in all rental units by August
2025

The expansion of the definition of where a child “resides”
has increased the number of apartment complaints for lead in FY21 by almost
40%, increasing the apartments requiring a lead-based paint inspection attempt
by more than 8,000. Recently, the law’s application was also expanded to one-
to two-family homes that are tenant-occupied, resulting in additional
complaints from nearly 400 apartments, prompting inspections by HPD’s
enforcement unit.

In Fiscal Year 2021, HPD issued almost 9,500 lead-based
paint hazard violations and spent over $1 million in emergency repairs to keep
children safe from lead-based paint. Additionally, HPD issued almost 8,000
violations for an owner’s failure to document their lead-based paint activities
to more than 700 buildings citywide. Understanding that these requirements are
complex and far reaching, HPD has developed multiple webinars and sample
documents to help owners meet their obligations and ensure that children are
protected from the dangers of lead-based paint.

Property owners can learn more about all required
inspections and investigations, record keeping requirements and how to address
surfaces with lead-based paint or paint of unknown lead content, as well as how
to address HPD issued lead-based paint hazard violations on HPD’s lead-based
paint webpage at nyc.gov/lead-based-paint.

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