HPD Announces Settlement with Building Owner to Fix Lead Paint Violations at Four Buildings in the Bronx and Queens

90-60 179th Place, one of the four impacted properties, had over 20 lead-based paint violations. Image Credit: Google Maps.

The four impacted buildings have over 200 households. On August 19, 2021, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced a settlement agreement with a building owner for the correction of lead-based paint violations across four buildings in the Bronx and Queens. The four buildings are 1585 White Plains Road and 58 East 190th Street in the Bronx, and 90-60 179th Place and 150-02 88th Avenue in Queens. The building owner, Ved Parkash, will be responsible for correcting the violations under an Order to Correct by August 29th and must pay $60,000 in civil penalties for violations under Local Law 1 of 2004. 

Local Law 1, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, requires rental property owners to take proactive steps to protect children from lead exposure. Building owners whose rental buildings were constructed before 1960 must annually determine which rental units where a child under the age of six resides or routinely spends ten hours a week; inspect those units and common areas of buildings for lead-based paint hazards; remediate those hazards with safe work practices and certified contractors; remediating lead hazards in all units at unit turnover between tenants; and testing for lead in all rental units by August 2025. 

HPD found 42 lead-based paint violations across Mr. Parkash’s four buildings, which contain more than 200 households. Most of the violations were discovered through proactive audits by HPD which revealed a failure by the owner to maintain records about lead-based activities in the building including inspections and abatement on turnover. Building-wide violations were also issued for failure to maintain annual inspections, investigations and other required records. Mr. Parkash will also be required to maintain these records going forward and must submit them to HPD for review next year. Under the order, HPD is allowed to bring cases back for additional civil penalties if the violations are not corrected by the August 29th deadline; however, HPD reported that Mr. Parkash has already made significant progress in addressing the lead-related conditions. 

HPD’s Office of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services is responsible for enforcing Local Law 1, and will continue to bring cases to Housing Court seeking the correction of lead-based violations and other requirements. In Fiscal Year 2021, HPD issued nearly 9,500 lead-based paint hazard violations, and spent over $1 million for emergency repairs to remove lead-based paint. Nearly 8,000 violations were also issued for an owner’s failure to document lead-based paint activities across over 700 buildings citywide. The enforcement unit also conducts inspections. When the definition of where a child “resides” was expanded in 2020 to include places where the child routinely spends ten or more hours a week, the number of complaints for lead increased by almost 40 percent, prompting more inspections. 

HPD has resources available for property owners to increase compliance with Local Law 1, and information for all New Yorkers about lead safety. To learn more about lead-based paint requirements, and how to protect children from lead exposure, call 311 or visit the Lead Free NYC page here

HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll stated, “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. 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.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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