For years, the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) has claimed it made required annual inspections of its apartments for lead paint. However, the Department of Investigations charged Tuesday that NYCHA stopped doing all annual inspections from 2012 through 2014 and continuing into 2016 on thousands of apartments. Tenants of these apartments have potentially been exposed to lead paint which is particularly toxic.
Studies show lead paint can cause severe damage to young children. Exposure often results when the paint chips and flakes on radiators and window sills are ingested by young children. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) requires housing authorities to visually inspect all these apartments annually for hazardous lead paint conditions. NYCHA has more than 55,000 apartments that likely have lead paint, including 4,231 where families with children under 6 live. Since 2010, there have been 17 NYCHA apartments where the children tested positive for high levels of lead in their blood.
According to the Department of Investigations (DOI), senior NYCHA officials knew that the Housing Authority had falsely certified that the required annual lead paint inspections were done when in fact, from 2012 into 2016, they were not done. DOI Commissioner Mark Peters noted that the NYCHA has a history of failing to monitor the safety of its apartments. In previous cases, it failed to properly test smoke detectors, inspect elevators and exclude tenants convicted of violent criminal acts. Commissioner Peters recommended NYCHA hire an independent monitor “to ensure future compliance with inspections for safety items” including lead paint hazards, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and elevator safety.
While inspections have begun again, tenants of these apartments are left to wonder at the safety of their premises during the period when there were no inspections.
If you or a family member was exposed to lead paint, speak to a qualified attorney about your rights. Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. has long been recognized as one of New York’s premier personal injury law firms due to our strong record of results, deep commitment to our valued clients and strong reputation in the legal community.
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