HPD Fines Landlord $150K for Failure to Comply With Lead Laws

Image Credit: NYC HPD

On January 10, 2024, the New York City Department Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced that they obtained civil penalties amounting to $150,000 against Ezriel Weinberger and affiliates for their failure to comply with lead-based paint laws across ten properties. These penalties concern lead-based paint offenses in over 790 units located across the Bronx and Manhattan. Each property incurred fines of $15,000.

The violations include lead-based and non-lead-based paint, numbering over 1,000 violations. Around 150 violations are linked directly to lead hazards, recordkeeping, and failure to perform inspections when new tenants move in. As part of the settlement, Ezriel Weinberger and affiliates must comply with all lead-based paint regulations, correct all violations, and comply with record-keeping, annual notice, and investigation requirements across the ten buildings. For more information on each building, please click here.

To prevent lead exposure, landlords of multiple apartments built before 1960 must provide an Annual Notice to tenants between January 1 and 16 and collect them by February 15. The notice must be in English as well as Spanish and identify if a child under the age of six lives in the unit. Landlords must notify New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) in writing and continue to follow up with the tenant. Sample Annual Notice forms can be accessed on HPD’s website to aid owners in documenting the Annual Notice and conducting follow-up inspections.

If an owner finds that a unit is occupied by a child under six, they must conduct visual inspections for lead-based paint hazards annually or more frequently based on prior knowledge of the apartment. This inspection should look for peeling paint, chewable surfaces, deteriorated fractions, and impact surfaces. If identified as lead-paint, repairs by the owner should be made. Virtual training in conducting lead-paint inspection can be found from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and is recommended.

Tenants who are concerned about lead paint and their landlord’s inaction to correct any needed repairs can file complaints online or via 311. If a complaint is made, HPD will send over a uniformed inspector to conduct the visual inspection and issue violations to the landlord if necessary. In the Fiscal Year 2023, HPD issued around 18,000 lead-based paint hazard violations. In the spring, HPD will conduct their annual National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in partnership with the DOHMH to provide community members with education material on the issue.

HPD’s “Get Ahead of Lead” webinar series can help landlords learn more about their responsibilities and obligations under Local Law 1 of 2004. For more information on annual lead requirements, webinars, training, and sample forms, please visit https://www.nyc.gov/site/hpd.

HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said,  “Today’s announcement will resonate with all New Yorkers. We all know that lead exposure is toxic and can especially affect young children and set back or permanently damage their development. We also know that responsible property owners make sure their buildings are lead safe and lead free.  That’s why I’m glad we’re holding this irresponsible owner to account. Enforcement is a pillar of our work to ensure families live in safe and healthy homes. We use violations, litigation, and swift emergency repairs to compel landlords to meet their moral and legal obligations. Those who perform as expected contribute to our collective well-being, and those who don’t are and will continue to be held accountable. Good work Team HPD!”

Council Member Eric Dinowitz said, “I am disturbed and angered by the blatant disregard this unscrupulous landlord has for lifesaving, lead-based paint regulations in the Bronx. The penalty for their actions exposes their indifference for tenant safety, especially endangering children. As a co-sponsor of last session’s bills addressing lead hazards, my colleagues and I are incredibly serious about creating a city without lead risks. I appreciate HPD’s enforcement to hold this terrible actor accountable as the health and safety of our community is always the top priority.

By: Meg Beauregard (Meg is the CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).

Department of Housing Preservation and Development:  “HPD Obtains Over $150,000 in Civil Penalties Against Property Owner for Failing to Comply with Lead-Based Paint Regulations” (Jan. 10, 2024).

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