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Region 3 News Release
News Release
  • For Immediate Release: July 9, 1999
  • EPA CITES TWO HARRISBURG LANDLORDS FOR FAILING TO DISCLOSE LEAD-BASED PAINT TO RESIDENTIAL TENANTS - Complaints Issued to Building Owners in Erie and Baltimore
    PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has issued administrative complaints against four landlords in Pennsylvania and Maryland for violating the federal law requiring landlords to disclose lead-based paint information.

    In separate administrative complaints, EPA seeks a $44,000 penalty against Jeb Stuart Fries, owner of two rental properties in Baltimore, Md.; a $28,600 penalty against Ray F. Tenalio, Jr., owner of a Harrisburg, Pa., rental property; a $10,000 penalty against Charles R. Filbey, owner of a multi-unit residential rental property in Harrisburg, Pa.; and a $14,300 penalty against Gerald Shields, owner of a residential rental property in Erie, Pa. These individuals were cited for violating the Lead Disclosure Rule.
    AThese legal actions are part of our nationwide effort to protect homeowners, tenants and their children from the health hazards of lead-based paints.. High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, such as a reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems and behavioral difficulties. Young children are particularly vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing,@ said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.

    Under the Lead Disclosure Rule, sellers and landlords of residential housing built before 1978 must disclose to purchasers and tenants the presence of known lead-based paint hazards (or indicate a lack of knowledge of such hazards); provide a lead hazard information pamphlet; provide a standard lead-warning statement on the dangers of lead-based paint; provide purchasers with a 10-day opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint inspection; and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in sales contracts and leases.
    The regulation applies to the rental and sale of all pre-1978 residences, with few exceptions, whether or not the property is later found to have lead-based paint. (The rule does not apply if a property is previously found to be lead-free by a certified inspector.) However, inspection reports showed the presence of lead-based paint in each of the properties cited in EPA's complaints.

    Baltimore, Md.: Mr. Fries, the owner of several rental properties in Baltimore, allegedly failed to provide the disclosure statement and lead paint information when he leased two properties to tenants with young children -- an apartment on East Eager Street, leased in March 1998 to a tenant with two children, ages 11 and five; and a property at Francis Street, leased in October 1997, to tenant with three children. Both properties had lead-based paint, according to the Baltimore Health Department.

    Harrisburg, Pa.: Mr. Tenalio allegedly failed to provide the disclosure statement and lead paint information when he leased an apartment on S. 14th Street to a tenant with several children. Tests of paint samples from an October 1998 inspection of the apartment by the Harrisburg Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Center tested positive for lead.

    Mr. Filbey, owner of a mult-unit residential rental property at N.16th and Market Streets, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania allegedly failed to provide a disclosure statement and lead paint information to the prospective lessee prior to entering into a June 1, 1997 lease agreement. At the time of the lease signing, the tenant had a five year-old child. Several of the paint samples tested during a September 1995 inspection by a Harrisburg Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Center Public Health Nurse contained lead.

    Erie, Pa.: Mr. Shields, owner of a rental property on East 11th Street, allegedly failed to provide a disclosure statement and lead-based paint information when he leased a first floor apartment to a new tenant in July 1998. At the time of the lease signing, the new tenant had three young children. Several of the paint samples tested during an October 1998 inspection of the rental property by an Erie County Health Department Community Health Specialist contained lead.

    The individuals named in these complaints have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.

    For more information on the Lead Disclosure Rule, please visit www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/leadisc.htm or www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/leadbase.htm

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    99-323