Manchester, N.H. Landlords Face Fines for Failing to Warn Tenants about Lead Paint
Release Date: 09/24/2008
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, 617.918.1020
(Boston, Mass. – September 24, 2008) – Several Manchester, N.H.-based landlords face fines for violations of federal lead paint disclosure laws. These violations potentially put tenants at risk of exposure to lead hazards.
In recent complaints, EPA alleges that Biren Properties, Inc., Diosa Investments, LLC, Hala Investments, LLC and Fernando Hilarion violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule when they failed to disclose information about lead paint to tenants who rented their apartments between 2005 and 2007. In separate cases, EPA is seeking a penalty of $54,200 against Biren and a combined penalty of $55,880 against Diosa, Hala and Hilarion for lead disclosure violations.
Exposure to lead paint is a concern older homes and buildings built before 1978, and is a serious health concern for children. Property owners and managers play an important role in helping to prevent lead poisoning by following lead paint disclosure requirements and making sure families are aware of potential lead hazards.
Between 2005 and 2007, Biren owned and rented six apartment buildings which contained 27 apartment units in Manchester, while Hala, Diosa and Hilarion owned and rented six apartment buildings which contained 39 apartment units in Manchester. The apartments are located in the urban center of Manchester where a disproportionate number of children suffer from lead poisoning. Since 2004, at least six children with elevated blood-lead levels were found to be living in properties owned by Biren. Since 2003, at least one child with an elevated blood-lead level was found to be living in a property owned by Hala.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
The violations alleged in EPA’s complaints include the landlords’ failure to inform tenants of known lead-based paint in their apartment buildings, failure to provide tenants with copies of records and reports regarding that lead-based paint and failure to provide tenants with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, as required by federal lead-based paint disclosure laws.
Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 provide the following information to tenants and buyers: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home; a lead warning statement; statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and copies of all available records or reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This information must be provided to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements. Property owners, property managers and real estate agents equally share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must retain copies of records regarding lead disclosures for three years.
More information: Lead paint issues in New England (www.epa.gov/ne/topics/pollutants/lead.html)