Bronx Landlord Sued By NY Attorney General James Over Lead Concerns

Peter Haskell
February 27, 2020 - 3:56 pm
Letitia James

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A company that manages thousands of apartments in New York City is being sued by the state for failing to properly check for lead paint.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced the lawsuit against Chestnut Holdings, which manages over 130 apartment buildings in the city – many of which are in the Bronx.

According to the suit, Chestnut repeatedly failed to conduct annual inspections or remediate apartments that were found to be in violation of lead standards, even went asked to by courts.

“They failed to conduct the required annual inspections at apartments where a child under the age of 6 resides for hazards that are conducive to lead poisoning,” James explained.

The landlord management company also falsely certified that it had complied with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act in new leases, according to the state’s complaint.

Residents at one of the company’s buildings on Macombs Road say they were shocked to hear about the lawsuit.

One woman who has lived in the building for 35 years did not know about the potential lead hazards until WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell approached her.

“When I have grandkids that come visit me and stay with me, you know, I don't want them inhaling this,” she said. “So I’m very concerned.”

Attorney General James did not claim there have been lead contamination or illness. She did hint that other landlords might face similar lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Chestnut Holdings released a statement to The Real Deal saying it complies with all lead laws.

“Chestnut exceeds any reasonable standards in inspecting its units and trying to address all safety concerns, especially the presence of lead,” a spokesperson said. “Chestnut’s strong safety record speaks to its commitment to all of its tenants, its communities, and its neighbors, but most especially children.”