With NYC’s ever-changing Local Laws, it’s no easy task for owners & managers to stay in the loop on local law updates while managing the day-to-day tasks of managing their properties, so it’s no surprise when owners call us in a panic when they receive an HPD Turnover Audit or Lead Violation.
Our team is here to help owners understand HPD Lead Violations and audits, explain what owners need to do to become compliant so they can respond to Lead Violations & Audits quickly and avoid costly penalties & additional violations.
Easy guide to understanding HPD EXEMPTIONS
“Lead Free’ & “Lead Safe” Status
As a building owner or property manager in New York City, getting an HPD lead exemption can significantly lower your lead disclosure and investigation requirements under Local Law 1 of 2004.
Doing this can help you avoid violations, reduce liability, and save money in the long run.
There are 2 types of HPD lead exemptions you can apply for: Lead Free and Lead Safe.
We’ve put together this guide, to help property owners and managers to easily understand what type of lead exemptions they could qualify for, the benefits of each, and how to apply.
What It Means: All painted surfaces in the building or unit have been tested and are free of lead-based paint.
Requirements: You must prove to HPD that ALL painted surfaces have tested negative for lead-based paint, or that any lead-based paint found (regardless of paint condition) has been permanently removed.
Benefits: You are exempt from all lead disclosure, investigation, turnover, and recordkeeping requirements under Local Law 1.
Ongoing Requirements: None
What It Means: All lead-based paint in the building or unit has been properly contained or encapsulated.
Requirements: You must prove to HPD that any lead-based paint (regardless of paint condition) has been properly abated through containment or encapsulation.
Benefits: You are exempt from lead disclosure, investigation, and turnover requirements, but ongoing monitoring and recordkeeping are still required.
Ongoing Requirements: Any contained or encapsulated surfaces must be visually inspected by the owner every year and undergo a risk assessment by an EPA-certified risk assessor every 2 years. You must maintain 10 years of records for these monitoring activities.
Applying for lead exemptions is free and the application is short — most of the work involves compiling the required documentation from testing and abatement (if required).
Step 1: Make Sure Your Building is Registered
In order to apply for a lead exemption, your building must be validly registered with HPD.
Step 2: Choosing Your Application Type
Decide what type of application(s) to submit:
Individual Unit Exemption
Entire building (or common areas only)
Building Complex (multiple buildings built at the same time under the same management)
Step 3: Certified Lead Testing
Hire an EPA-certified lead inspector or risk assessor to test for lead-based paint using an XRF analyzer (and possibly paint chip sampling as well).
After the lead testing is completed, you’ll receive an inspection report as well as the signed and notarized affidavit to include in your application.
If all surfaces have tested negative (no lead-based paint found), on page 3 (Section IV) of the application select “Lead Free – No Abatement Required”.
Step 4: Certified Lead Abatement (If needed)
If some surfaces tested positive for lead-based paint, then you must properly abate it in order to qualify for an exemption.
Any abatement work must be completed by an EPA-certified lead abatement firm using safe work practices, and a copy of their certification is required as part of your application.
The type of abatement method you choose will determine if you qualify for Lead Free or Lead Safe.
Permanent Removal / Replacement — This involves safely removing all lead-based paint from contaminated surfaces or replacing the surfaces themselves. If lead-based paint is successfully abated this way, on page 3 (Section IV) of the application select “Lead Free with Abatement Required.”
Containment — Surfaces with lead paint are covered completely with a hard material, such as sheetrock to prevent direct exposure and stop lead dust or fumes from escaping. If lead-based paint is successfully abated via containment, on page 3 (Section IV) of the application select “Lead Safe.”
Encapsulation — Surfaces with lead paint are covered with a special type of liquid or adhesive called an encapsulant, which seals the paint to the surface and prevents the release of dust or paint chips. Encapsulation cannot be used to abate “high risk areas” “that are subject to chewing, friction and impact, If lead-based paint is successfully abated via encapsulation, on page 3 (Section IV) of the application select “Lead Safe.”
After any form of abatement above, you must also hire an independent EPA-certified firm or individual (cannot be the firm that completed the abatement) to perform dust wipe clearance testing, which ensures that proper clean-up was conducted.
The firm that performs the dust wipe sampling must complete the affidavit on page 20.
Step 5: Required Documentation
Once testing and abatement are completed, it’s time to complete your application and compile the necessary documentation.
Here’s what you’ll be required to submit, depending on the type of exemption that you’re applying for:
For Lead Free (No Abatement Required):