6C — May 21 - June 17, 2021 — Multifamily Development — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Multifamily Development

By Lee Wasserman, LEW Corporation Environmental Risk is Real! And Environmental Risk Management is Needed!!


0 years in the environ- mental industry with national recognition and

was directed at the DOHMH by creating a new definition, “Unsafe Lead Paint (ULP)”, which lowered the action level for the issuance of a DOHMH lead-based paint violation to 0.5mg/cm2. Even though city and federal levels for compli- ance remained at 1.0mg/cm2. NYC DOHMH has already been issuing violations at this newly established Unsafe Lead Paint of 0.5 mg/cm2. Over the past two decades, many land- lords responsibly decided to test their units in compliance with the 1.0mg/cm2 action level and applied for exemption status; an exemption status that many

believed was received presum- ing HPD did not send them any notice of deficiency or otherwise revoke based on the language of the exemption application at that time. Jump to 2020: a child be- tween 0-18yrs has an elevated blood lead level. NYC DOHMH investigates the property and finds readings above the newly established 0.5mg/cm2 (ULP) but below 1.0mg/cm2 (current federal and city action level). The landlord/management pre- viously proved lead paint above the regulatory action level (1.0) did not exist and applied for exemption, but a DOHMH violation is issued today regard- less. Because NYC DOHMH issued a lead violation, NYC HPD issued a Record Produc- tion Order. Well, guess what, the landlord does not have records because they thought their property was exempt after not hearing fromHPD. Because the landlord cannot produce the paperwork, NYC takes the landlord to court. When asked HPD recently what a landlord could do to remove the viola- tions, the response was they have to produce the records. How can owners/managers produce non-existent records? A previously used HPD Form L-09B, Application and in- structions for exemption from Administrative code 27-2056(a) clearly implied based on its own language, owners were exempt upon submission unless ad- vised by HPD otherwise. So, no records were collected or kept? Even if you comply, rules can change and do change. What was once HPD’s process is no longer the process, action level, … and so on! The solution to protect yourself from envi- ronmental risk and officially establish your internal Envi- ronmental Risk Management team! A team of experienced professionals who know the laws, the agencies, and the risks; one that has the tools to assist your property stay en- vironmentally risk safe. Your Risk Management team can help you stay abreast of appli- cable regulations, can review existing programs & support documentation, can provide technology for documenting compliance, and can assist with environmental services you might need. Why manage your risk after the fact, commit to establishing a Team today! Lee Wasserman is presi- dent of LEW Corp. MAREJ

and litigation, followed by a media fear factor! My proposed solution: A legitimate and ac- tive Environmental Risk Man- agement Program!!! No Joke!!! Today, there is an abundance of complicated NYC environ- mental regulations and numer- ous others (city, state & federal) that are constantly changing requirements for compliance! The city struggles to manage itself, is too political, and has too many litigious occupants. Costs of environmental non- compliance can be overwhelm- ing, costs of violations, legal counsel, court hearings, inter- nal staff/management time,

negative press, and let’s not forget about emotional costs. Even when right, you can still be wrong in NYC! One example started in 2018 with NYCHA. The Executive Director (ED), based on staff knowledge, executed a HUD compliance document stating all was compliant. Unbeknown to the ED, her staff was lying! This caused a media frenzy, a resident uprising, plenty of litigation, enforcement ac- tions, followed by new NYC regulations. Consequently, the mayor and city council passed a series of amendments to NYC LL1 of 2004. One amendment

NYC be ing my backyard, qualifies me as an NYC environmen- tal industry expert. With a g e c ome s wi sdom, so when I look

Lee Wasserman

into the future of the environ- mental industry, what do I see? A substantial amount of environmental risk all around NYC!!! An aged city, over-reg- ulated with agency violations

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