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Apartment Complex Owner Pays Fine for Failing to Warn Tenants about Lead Paint in Springfield, Mass.

Release Date: 11/30/2009
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 30, 2009) – The owner of a 25-unit apartment building in Springfield, Mass. has agreed to pay a fine of $10,000 to settle an EPA enforcement action alleging violations of federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements.

The real estate company, MA No. 2, LLC (MA2), is a Nevada corporation that owns the Parkview Apartments on Federal Street in Springfield. In March 2006, EPA issued a subpoena seeking information regarding lead disclosure at Parkview. The subpoena response provided EPA with information leading to this enforcement case and the underlying allegations that eight lease transactions from 2004 and 2005 by MA2 were in violation of the Lead Disclosure Rule.

In particular, EPA found that MA2 failed to provide tenants with lead hazard information pamphlets, information and records about known lead-based paint and/or hazards at Parkview, lead warning statements in leases, and statements disclosing the presence of known lead-based paint or hazards, or the lack of such knowledge. As part of the settlement, EPA agreed to withdraw liability claims against another party it had originally named along with MA2, after factual information provided after the case was filed showed that the party was not liable for the Parkview violations.

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. While violation of lead disclosure laws can increase the potential for exposure to lead-based paint, information available to EPA does not indicate that any lead poisoning occurred as a result of these violations.

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. Currently, MA2 has come into compliance with these requirements.

More information:
Lead paint disclosure enforcement in New England (www.epa.gov/ne/enforcement/leadpaint/index.html)

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