Annual Inspection Checklist for NYC Landlords (2023)

As a certain crimefighter from Queens once said: “with great power comes great responsibility.”

For New York City’s landlords, part of that great responsibility is to conduct annual inspections to ensure that the apartments they manage are habitable for tenants.

These landlord annual inspections are required by NYC’s Local Law 1 and Local Law 55, and concern the presence of lead paint, mold, and pests.

In this article, we’ll explain how to conduct these annual inspections — including checklists of what to look for — to help landlords and property owners comply with local law requirements and avoid HPD violations.

What Are the Annual Inspection Requirements for NYC Landlords?

When it comes to multi-family residential buildings in New York City, Local Law 1 and Local Law 55 require 3 types of inspections that must be completed and documented on an annual basis:

  1. Lead Paint
  2. Mold
  3. Pests

In most cases, it’s up to the landlord to decide whether they will personally perform these inspections or outsource them to trained professionals.

For landlords that choose to perform their own inspections, the environmental health & safety experts at Green Orchard Group have put together these convenient landlord annual inspection checklists:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, enforcement of annual inspection requirements was temporarily halted in 2020 and non-compliant property owners were not issued violations.

However, that temporary reprieve is over. HPD is actively enforcing landlord annual inspection requirements laid out in Local Law 1 and Local Law 55.

Part 1: Annual Lead Paint Inspections (Local Law 1)

Among other things, Local Law 1 requires landlords to conduct annual visual inspections for lead-based paint hazards.

Every year, a visual inspection is required for any dwelling unit in which a child under the age of six (6) resides. Inspections should also be conducted whenever an apartment becomes vacant (during turnover), before a new tenant moves in.

  • The annual visual inspection requirement does NOT apply to buildings constructed after 1978.
  • It also does not apply to buildings or units that have been granted a lead exemption from HPD.

All findings and results of each inspection must be properly documented, and these records should be kept for a minimum of 10 years.

You can either perform the visual inspections yourself or hire a professional (like Green Orchard Group) to do them. If you choose to do it yourself, we strongly recommend going through HUD’s free online Visual Assessment Training course.

Landlord Checklist for Local Law 1 Inspections

When performing visual inspections for potential lead paint hazards, the landlord should do a comprehensive check for the following conditions in each and every apartment where a child under 6 resides.

Per HPD’s instructions, every surface in every room of the apartment should be examined and documented, including the interiors of closets and cabinets. If any of the following potential lead paint hazards are found, note down the location and description of the condition.

Local Law 1 Visual Inspection Checklist ✔ 

You can print and use HPD’s Annual Visual Inspection template to document findings. During the inspection, check each surface in every room for:

Peeling Paint

Paint that is peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, or otherwise damaged in any manner.

Look for deteriorated paint on all painted building components, including walls, windows, and trim areas. Nail holes or hairline cracks are not considered deteriorated if the surrounding paint is stable. If deteriorated paint is identified, it must be remediated.

Chewable Surfaces

Protruding interior surfaces such as windowsills, railings, stairs, and other edges that are accessible to children under 6 years old, even when the paint is not deteriorated.

Check for evidence of paint on these surfaces being chewed (teeth marks, paint chips, debris, or residue) and inquire from the occupant if a child under 6 has chewed or mouthed such surfaces.

Deteriorating Sub-Surfaces

Unstable or unsound substrates beneath a painted surface, such as decaying wood or damaged plaster.

When inspecting for deteriorating sub-surfaces, ask about and investigate potential underlying conditions such as a recent leak, excess moisture, or physical disturbance that might cause damage to painted surfaces.

Friction Surfaces

Any interior painted surface that touches or comes into contact with another surface as a result of up and down, back and forth, or rubbing movement.

The resulting friction can cause the paint to abrade, scrape, or bind. Common examples of friction surfaces include window frames, jambs, doors, and hinges.

Impact Surfaces

Any interior painted surface that shows evidence (marking, denting, chipping, etc.) of being damaged by repeated, sudden force.

Over time, repeated impacts can cause paint to chip, break, and release lead-containing dust. Common examples of impact surfaces include door frames, moldings, and baseboards.

Any areas with deteriorated paint identified during the visual inspection must be repaired and/or abated using trained workers and safe work practices.

If the repair or abatement involves replacing windows or more than 100 square feet of lead paint, Local Law 1 requires the landlord to hire an EPA-certified lead abatement firm to perform the work.

Part 2: Annual Mold and Pest Inspections (Local Law 55)

Local Law 55 of 2018, otherwise known as the Asthma-Free Housing Act, makes landlords responsible for keeping their properties free from indoor allergen hazards such as pests and mold.

As part of this law, which was passed in 2018 and went into effect in 2019, landlords are required to conduct annual inspections of all dwelling units and common areas for mold and pests.

Similar to the annual visual inspections for lead paint, the mold and pest inspections required by Local Law 55 can also be performed either by the landlord or by trained professionals.

Landlord Checklist for Local Law 55 Inspections

Because this is a relatively new regulation, current information is limited about the guidelines and standards by which the annual inspections must be conducted.

Some landlords may choose to perform perfunctory visual checks for visible signs of mold and pests, while more prudent landlords hire professionals to conduct detailed annual inspections — complete with moisture, temperature, and infrared camera readings.

The benefit of the latter is obviously the quality of the inspection. Being proactive about catching and fixing mold or problems early on can save landlords a lot of money in repairs and extermination services down the line.

Local Law 55 Annual Inspection Checklist ✔ 

You can either print and use HPD’s Sample Investigation Form template to document findings. Per Local Law 55, here is what you must check for:

Visible Mold

Mold or mildew that is readily identifiable by visual inspection, including mold that is behind furniture or other interior obstructions.

Underlying Defects (Mold)

Any building conditions that can cause indoor mold hazards, such as recent flooding, water leaks, water infiltration from plumbing, or other moisture conditions.


Unwanted members of the order Rodentia, including house mice and Norway rats. Note down other evidence or signs of rodent infestations, including droppings, runways, and nests.


Presence of American cockroaches (large, dark, reddish-brown), German cockroaches (small, tan), and cockroach nymphs (small, dark brown).

Underlying Defects (Pests)

Any building conditions that may cause or allow for infestation of pests by providing access to food, water, harborage, or entry into the dwelling. Examples include holes, cracks, and other potential entry points, as well as clutter and garbage.


Additional potential indoor allergen hazards that fall under Local Law 55 include certain chemicals with strong smells (cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, etc.) as well as other household pests (houseflies, lice, moths, silverfish, beetles, bedbugs, ants, termites, spiders, and mites)

If any of the above indoor allergen hazards are identified during the annual inspection, it is the landlord’s responsibility to address them. This may include:

  • Correcting underlying defects
  • Remediating mold conditions
  • Remediating pest infestations

As the landlord, it is in your best interest to identify and address these conditions sooner rather than later, as mold and pest issues have a tendency to quickly worsen over time.

Tenants may also file complaints for any of the above with 311, and HPD will follow up with an inspection and potentially issue violations.

Professional Local Law Inspection Services

If you need help with landlord annual inspections for Local Law 1 and/or Local Law 55, the experts at Green Orchard Group can help!

We are a team of certified lead, mold, and pest professionals, trained to provide thorough, efficient, and affordable annual visual inspection services that are fully compliant with New York City’s regulations.

If you have questions about how to perform your own annual inspections for lead paint, mold, and pests, we are always happy to answer them and provide guidance.