NYC Inspection

Understanding NYC’s Lead-Based Paint Laws

View the “Compliance Made Simple” Pocket Guide.


With over 30 years of industry excellence in lead-based paint regulations and lead hazards, our experts at LEW Environmental Services are here to help you navigate the complex NYC lead-based paint laws, commonly referred to as Local Law 1 and all of Local Law 1 recent amendments.  

Property owners have a responsibility for keeping tenants safe from lead-based paint hazards related to their property

NYC Lead-Based Paint Laws apply to buildings erected prior to 1960 and post 1960, pre-1978 dwellings where the owner has actual knowledge of lead-based paint. Local Law 29 of 2020 expanded the scope of property owners affected by the new regulations to include smaller landlords, including one and two-family house rentals except for units occupied by the owners’ family.

Impacted property owners in NYC must have all dwelling units inspected for lead paint by August 9, 2025 by EPA-certified inspectors utilizing X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing. Apartments where a child age 6 or under resides should have already been inspected or within 12 months of lease inception. 

LEW Environmental Services offers EPA-certified lead inspections with approved XRF instruments coupled with the state-of-the-art reporting technology

New Threshold for Defining Lead Paint 

Per Local Law 66 of 2021, the new threshold for defining lead-based paint has been lowered from 1.0 mg/cm2 to 0.5 mg/cm2. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has confirmed that XRF lead inspections performed prior to December 1, 2021 may still use the old 1.0 mg/cm2 threshold and will NOT need to be re-tested for Local Law 31 compliance, until such time as unit turnover then units must be retested at the new lower lead paint definition 0.5mg/cm2.

Apartments With Children or Children That Visit

Apartments with children under the age of 6 who spend more than 10 hours per week in the unit or common areas should have been inspected by August 9, 2021. If a family with a child under the age of 6 recently moved into an apartment, lead testing must be completed within 1 year of their move-in date. 

In addition to stricter lead inspection requirements, New York State is tackling childhood lead poisoning head on by expanding NYS Public Health Law (§ 1370) and regulations (Part 67 of Title 10 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations). As of 2019, the definition of an elevated blood lead level in a child has been lowered to 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL). On top of the more sensitive testing thresholds, all children in New York are given a lead assessment at EVERY well child visit from age 6 months to 6 years. If a child tests positive for elevated blood lead levels an environmental investigation is automatically triggered. 

X-Ray Fluorescence (XFR) Testing

Effective August 9, 2020 NYC Local Law 31 requires that lead testing be conducted by x-ray fluorescence (XRF). XRF technology allows for a greater degree of accuracy in lead paint inspections and is intended to identify where lead-based paint may exist, even if the paint is not chipping.

LEW Environmental Services prides itself on using the latest technology like X-ray fluorescence for lead-based paint testing. 

SMARTComply: Compliance Made Simple is more than a slogan. SMARTComply is LEW Environmental Services’ proprietary framework that gives you a powerful ally in NYC lead paint regulations compliance success.