Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown and Councilmember David Rivera introduced a series of ordinance amendments that will expand the scope of City inspectors’ ability to conduct interior inspections of rental units as part of a proactive strategy to identify lead contamination and rectify it before it can have an adverse effect on residents.
Mayor Brown said, “Over the last several years, the City has worked aggressively to combat lead poisoning in our neighborhoods. This latest step increases the ability of the inspectors to proactively identify problem housing units and work with the landlords to correct these issues before residents, and especially children, are poisoned and forced to deal with the long-term health problems that accompany exposure to lead paint. I want to thank Councilmember Rivera for working with us to introduce this legislation at this critical moment when, because of the stay-at-home orders to protect our community from COVID-19, many residents’ risk of exposure to lead that could be present in their own homes has increased.”
The legislation filed makes amendments to the following chapters of the City Code:
These amendments will require all single and double non-owner occupied rental units in the City of Buffalo to obtain a “Certificate of Rental Compliance” (CRC) as a condition of rental, which must be renewed every three years. As part of the certification process, landlords must allow inspectors to conduct an interior inspection of the properties. Landlords must also submit a record of any past instances for which the Erie County Health Department has cited the property for the presence of lead. The City’s Department of Permits and Inspections will use a phased approach to conduct these inspections for certification and prioritize neighborhoods where a disproportionally high number of incidents of lead poisoning have been reported.
Councilmember David Rivera said, “For months, my office has been working together with the City of Buffalo Law Department to draft this legislation that will help protect renters from the health and safety implications associated with lead and other housing violations. Everyone deserves a safe environment in which to reside and this legislation will help landlords and tenants work towards rental units that are free from hazards.”
This legislation is the most recent action the Administration has taken to combat lead poisoning. In September of this year, Buffalo was awarded a $2.3 million lead hazard safety grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the purposes of making homes lead safe in areas where high incidents of lead poisoning have been previously reported. This funding is in addition to the nearly $1 million in State grants the City secured two years ago to launch Buffalo’s Replace Old Lead Lines (ROLL) initiative which removes lead water lines that experience a break and could potentially contaminate a person’s home water supply if not replaced. In the last year, the Department of Permits and Inspections has also hired additional staff to conduct lead awareness trainings, provide community groups with lead safety materials, and increase the number of inspections in homes where residents suspect they have been exposed to lead contamination.
For more information on lead safety and what to do if you suspect your home may have lead contamination, visit www.buffalony.gov/629/Lead-Information or call 311.