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What is Local Law 31?

Updated: Dec 8, 2022


New York City’s longest public health crisis is lead paint poisoning. NYC banned lead paint use in 1960 but many buildings built earlier have not been remediated. In 2020, Local Law 31 was issued to improve enforcement and inspection of existing regulations stated in the NYC Local Law 1.


What is Local Law 31 of 2020?

Local Law 31 of 2020 is the updated version of the existing law preventing lead exposure in children, known as the NYC Local Law 1 of 2004 or ‘Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act.’


This law is enforced by NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and took effect on August 9, 2020.


These are the important updates included in Local Law 31:


Properties required to be inspected for possible lead paint remediation


Previous laws only included properties with three or more units. Under Local Law 31, property mangers and owners have to conduct certified lead-based paint inspection for all dwelling units built before January 1, 1960 that now includes tenant-occupied one- and two-unit buildings. This excludes the family-occupied units of residential building owners.


Requirements for children below 6 years old

  • For homes with children under the age of 6 years, lead inspections have to be done by August 9, 2021.

  • If children under the age of 6 years have recently moved in, lead testing has to be complied with within 1 year of the move-in date.

  • For properties with no children under the age of 6 years, lead paint inspections have to be completed by August 9, 2025.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Requirements for inspectors and contractors

  • Lead inspections have to to be:

  • Conducted by independent third-party inspectors or risk assessors with EPA certification.

  • Only X-Ray Fluorescence and XRF inspections are accepted.

  • They are to be conducted on:

  • All surfaces of properties built before January 1, 1960.

  • All surfaces of properties with known lead-based paint between 1960 and 1978.

  • Home improvement contractors who will conduct the remediation have to verify that they are EPA-certified. They should also follow all safety standards for lead based paint remediation.

Requirements for Condo/Coop Buildings

  • Condo or co-op buildings that are rented out, and children under the age of 6 years reside in the property,

  • Annual XRF inspections have to be conducted in common areas and in the dwelling unit.

  • Necessary repairs also have to be performed by certified workers using safe work practices under NYC Local Law 1 of 2004.

  • Units occupied by condo or co-op owners and the owner’s family are exempt from this requirement.

XRF of X-Ray Fluorescence Testing & Lead-based paint


Lead-based paint is defined as:

  • Having lead content measured at 0.5 mg/cm2 or greater

  • As determined by laboratory analysis or an XRF instrument with an approved performance characteristic sheet (PCS) and programmed at a testing action level of 0.5 mg/cm2.

This is in compliance with Local Law 66 of 2019 and the rules adopted by HPD. Previously, lead-based paint had a higher threshold of 1.0 mg/cm2 or greater as determined by laboratory analysis or by XRF with an approved PCS at a testing action level of 1.0 mg/cm2.


XRF or X-Ray Fluorescence can detect and measure elements. Trained experts use handheld XRF analyzers during lead inspection to gather information from surfaces of dwelling units inspected.


Only EPA-certified lead professionals are qualified under New York Local Law 31 to conduct the XRF Testing. The cost will be calculated according to the size of units being tested.


Lead-based paint hazards


According to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) lead-based paint hazards include:


Dust and peelings from damaged lead paint

  • Lead paint on:

  • Rotted wood

  • Crumbling plaster

  • Doors and windows, in particular those that are in contact with one another, and are sticking or rubbing together

  • Surfaces such as window sills that have been chewed on or susceptible for chewing by children

For more inquiries on Local Law 31 and how it applies to your property, call (718) 316-6866.

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