New Haven Landlords Agree to $182,000 Settlement in Lead Paint Disclosure Case
Release Date: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 21, 2008) - Three closely-related New Haven, Conn. non-profit housing corporations – Edgewood Village, Inc., F.O.H., Inc., and Yedidei Hagan, Inc. – have agreed to a $182,000 settlement of EPA claims that the housing corporations violated lead paint disclosure laws at their New Haven rental properties.
The violations were identified during the course of an investigation that EPA began in July 2005, and were cited in a complaint filed in April 2007. Under the settlement, the three entities will pay a $20,000 fine, replace 214 old windows, and perform other projects to remove lead-based paint hazards associated with over 15 apartments in New Haven.
This settlement is one of three significant enforcement actions announced this week by EPA in New England states regarding violation of lead paint disclosure laws. The other cases involved a private landlord, Juliet Ermitano in Manchester, N.H., and Chestnut Hill Realty, a property manager of over 5,000 residential apartment units in the Greater Boston area and Rhode Island.
Old windows are a major culprit in residential lead poisonings because the action of opening and closing windows can abrade lead-based paint on the windows, creating lead-containing dust. The window replacement and lead abatement projects will cost $110,000. While the case was underway in 2007, the landlords performed other lead-based paint hazard abatement work costing approximately $52,000, which was also incorporated into the settlement.
“Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. “It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint. This is especially important for pregnant women and families with young children.”
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies; reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
This case is among dozens of lead-related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has taken as part of a collaborative effort between federal, state and municipal agencies and grassroots organizations to make sure property owners, property managers and real estate agents are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. EPA has conducted hundreds of inspections in New England, and, in collaboration with its partners, has conducted numerous compliance assistance workshops.
The purpose of the Lead Disclosure Rule is to provide residential renters and purchasers of pre-1978 housing with enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing, so that they can make informed decisions about whether to lease or purchase the housing.
Federal law requires sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 to:
- Provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to inform renters and buyers about the dangers associated with lead paint;
- Include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
- Disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit and provide available reports to buyers or renters;
- Allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and
- Maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.
Lead paint health hazards: (epa.gov/region1/eco/ne_lead/index.html)
Lead-based paint disclosure rule: epa.gov/region1/enforcement/leadpaint/index.html
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