Just weeks after the City Department of Investigation (DOI) revealed that the City Housing Authority (NYCHA) failed to conduct vital lead paint tests over the last four years while falsely certifying to HUD that it had done so, RSA offered our in house Annual Safety Notice Service (ASNS) to help NYCHA rectify the issue.
For over 20 years, RSA has proudly offered our in-house ASNS to help rental property owners comply with all lead paint, window guard and fire safety requirements (see page 5 for more information on this year’s ASNS). To help NYCHA comply with local and federal laws, as well as ensure the safety of all NYCHA residents, RSA offered the use of its ASNS to the City.
On December 5th, NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye and other representatives of the agency were questioned by City Council Members for over four hours over their failure to conduct the required lead paint tests in over 50,000 NYCHA apartments. The DOI report shows that Chair Olatoye was well aware that inspectors were avoiding lead paint inspections in NYCHA apartments, as well as failing to report on other hazardous conditions. The agency was in fact in violation of federal and local laws, yet Chair Olatoye continued to falsely certify that inspections were completed and that NYCHA was in compliance.
At the conclusion of the hearing, RSA offered our ASNS to the City and according to a City Hall spokesperson in an article in the New York Post, the City would be open to utilizing RSA’s service:
“NYCHA tenants deserve to receive the same level of service as residents of private housing do, which is why we have upgraded to a digital maintenance system. But we are always willing to learn more about industry best practices.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has not always been kind to the City’s rental property owners and has refused to work harmoniously with RSA. However, all disagreements should be put aside when it comes to particular services that better protect the health of all tenants throughout the City. Although the de Blasio Administration admitted via the New York Post that RSA’s ASNS would be helpful, City officials have yet to contact with RSA with regard to utilizing the service.
Since the news broke about NYCHA’s compliance failure, two senior employees have been fired. However, Mayor de Blasio continues to receive criticism for his knowledge of the situation from as far back as July 2016 and for not firing Chair Olatoye for her role. Although Mayor de Blasio continues to have confidence in the NYCHA Chairperson, the fallout of the DOI report continued through December when State Senator Jesse Hamilton introduced legislation that would require children who live in NYCHA apartments be tested for lead poisoning as they enter kindergarten, second and fourth grades.
We do not expect the City to resolve this issue any time soon and further developments are expected over the next several months. In the meantime, we encourage the de Blasio Administration to strongly consider using RSA’s service.