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Real Estate Company and Individual Landlord Both Agree to Pay for Violating Federal Lead Rules

Release Date: 10/30/2008
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The Audubon Communities Management, LLC, a real estate investment and management company, has signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to spend more than $138,000 to replace exterior doors and jambs that have potential lead-based paint and take other steps to ensure that they are complying with lead-based paint disclosure rules. According to the agreement, the Maple Shade, N.J. based company will replace 119 exterior apartment doors and door jambs at its apartment complex in Belleville N.J. then test the door areas for lead. The company will also pay a $9,500 penalty. EPA has cited the company for failing to properly inform residents about potential lead-based paint in their apartment complex. In an unrelated case, a Roselle Park, N.J. landlord has also agreed to take proper steps to address violations of lead rules.

“If you sell, lease or rent a residence, you must properly notify tenants of potential lead paint hazards,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA regional Administrator. “We are pleased that this real estate company is now willing to do the right thing to reduce people’s exposure to lead-based paint.”

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 this instance, EPA alleged that during the years 2005 through 2007, Audubon Communities Management leased housing units in Belleville and Newark without fulfilling these disclosure requirements.

In a separate lead-based paint enforcement case, John Bouranel, a Roselle Park, N.J. landlord, was cited by EPA for failing to provide new tenants with lead disclosure information and reports. Mr. Bouranel has agreed to spend at least $4,670 to replace windows that have lead paint; conduct lead testing at the Hawthorne Street property in Roselle Park, and pay a $1,500 civil penalty.

“This case emerged thanks to a concerned tenant’s complaint and proves that people can take steps to protect themselves and their families against lead hazards,” added EPA Regional Administrator Steinberg.

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. Children younger than age six are among the most vulnerable to adverse health risks from lead-based paint.

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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