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NYC Landlord Fined for Failing to Provide Lead Paint Information

Release Date: 04/08/2010
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Thinking of renting or selling a home or apartment? Make sure you disclose its lead-based paint history. Mr. Wolfe Landau did not and it cost him a $20,000 fine. The landlord with over 25 properties in Brooklyn and 1 in Manhattan has signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pay the civil penalty for alleged violations of lead-based paint disclosure rules. EPA has cited the property owner for failing to properly inform residents about potential lead-based paint in their apartments through disclosure statements, warning statements and failing to make them aware of records or reports that would alert them of the potential lead hazards. In addition, Mr. Landau must take proper steps to address violations of lead rules.

It is estimated three-quarters of the U.S. residential dwellings built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. Lead poisoning in children can have serious, long-term consequences including learning disabilities, hearing impairment and behavioral problems. Lead poisoning remains one of the most prevalent threats to children's well-being but it is also one of the most preventable. Under federal law, families have the right to know whether there are any potential lead-paint hazards in a prospective home, and must be informed about the harm lead can inflict on small children. Children younger than age six are among the most vulnerable to adverse health risks from lead-based paint.

“If you sell or rent a residence, you must properly notify a buyer or tenant of potential lead paint hazards,” said Judith Enck, EPA regional Administrator. “EPA takes very seriously its commitment to reducing people’s exposure to lead-based paint. New York City has a large supply of older housing units, so people in NYC need to take steps to protect themselves and their families against lead hazards. Complying with the law is so simple and takes such minimal effort that sellers, landlords and their representatives have no excuse for not doing so. This case should serve as a message to the real estate community that we are serious about enforcing lead laws to protect children.”

EPA enforces federal laws that help prevent hazards from lead-based paint by requiring disclosure and notification when selling or leasing applicable housing.

Specifically, federal law requires that people and entities that sell or rent housing built before 1978 must provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet; include lead notification language in sales and rental forms; disclose any known lead-based paint hazards and provide reports to buyers or renters; allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and maintain records certifying compliance with applicable federal requirements for three years.

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Centers for Disease Control, EPA operates the National Lead Information Center, including a toll-free hotline that can be reached at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

For more information on lead and the environment, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/lead

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