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Lead in NYC Homes

Beginning in 1960, New York City banned the use of lead-based paint in residential buildings.

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (2004) requires, in part, that building owners investigate units and common areas where lead-based paint may be present, specifically focusing on units with a child under six years old.

Any lead-based paint hazards or violations must be fixed using safe work practices and detailed records of investigation and remediation efforts must be maintained.

Despite these existing requirements, tenants in both public and private housing are frequently unaware of lead hazards and can unknowingly be at risk. Exposure to this toxic substance, which is especially harmful to children, has continued.

Lead in NYC

Illegal Lead
Lead-Based Paint Banned in NYC

Lead-Based Paint Violations
133,372 Violations
2004 – 2018

Lead Cases in NYC Courts
3,483 Building Owners
2004 – 2018

Lead Cases in NYC Courts
47% in the Bronx
2004 – 2018


If your building owner does not fix peeling paint, or you think the work is not being done safely, you can file a complaint online or by calling 311.

File a Lead Complaint


Lead is particularly dangerous for children. As a result, the City Council is passing a package of legislation to protect all New Yorkers from lead.

These bills set the technical standards for enforcement, including what is considered an elevated blood lead level or a lead-based paint hazard.

Current standards have been in place since 2004, and in that time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended a lower blood lead level for intervention, which this legislative package codifies.

This package of bills ensures that the City uses the most up-to-date standards to protect children from being poisoned by lead.

The legislative package includes bills that:

  • Require the investigation and remediation of lead hazards in spaces where children routinely spend 10 hours or more/week. Read the Bill: Int 464-B
  • Require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to track all lead water supply mains and service lines and provide that information to the public in the form of an online interactive map. Read the Bill: Int 709-A
  • Lower the blood lead levels, lead-based paint threshold, and lead dust threshold that trigger inspection and/or remediation requirements. Read the Bill: Int 865-A
  • Require linguistically and culturally competent outreach/education campaign to increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention. Read the Bill: Int 881-A
  • Strengthen the City’s enforcement ability to ensure landlords are complying with the City’s lead laws, and expand lead reporting requirements for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Read the Bill: Int 918-A
  • Extend current requirements for daycares to test for lead-based paint annually to other facilities with children under the age of 6, including preschools and nursery schools. Read the Bill: Int 920-A
  • Increase landlord requirements to inform tenants about building owners’ responsibilities under the City’s lead laws. Read the Bill: Int 1117-A

Lead Litigation by Borough

If a building owner does not allow a lead inspection or submits a false certification about having resolved a lead issue, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take the building owner to court.

The Bronx had the most lead litigation and also has the highest rate of lead litigation per number of residential units. Between 2004-2018 the Bronx experienced 1,958 court cases brought by HPD against landlords. Brooklyn had the second most lead court cases with 1,233 between 2004-2018.

Staten Island had by far the fewest lead related court cases brought by HPD against landlords, with only 14 cases between 2004-2018.

Lead in NYC Homes

Lead Violations


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Created by the NYC Council Data Team.