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Portland Landlord Cited for Serious Violations of Federal Lead Rules

Release Date: 3/6/2003
Contact Information: Barbara Ross
(206) 553-1985

March 6, 2003

Tenants not informed of lead paint hazards; residents included young children

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency has filed a complaint against Portland landlords, John and Brenda Peak, alleging they failed to notify their tenants of the fact that lead-based paint could pose serious health threats to children or pregnant women.

The Peaks own apartments throughout Portland that are classified by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as “target housing” – which includes most dwellings built prior to the 1978 Consumer Products Safety Commission ban on the manufacture and sale of lead-based paint.

Image of booklet: Protect your family from lead in your homeThe EPA complaint alleges the Peaks committed 16 violations of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 when they failed to provide their tenants with a Lead Warning Statement disclosing the health hazards associated with lead-based paint, and notifying the tenants of either the presence of known lead-based paints or a lack of knowledge of such presence. The Peaks also failed to provide their tenants with the EPA-approved lead information pamphlet entitled Protect your Family from Lead in Your Home. Each violation carries a maximum penalty of $11,000.

With few exceptions, the federal lead-paint disclosure rules require owners of pre-1978 rental housing to provide disclosure forms to tenants prior to entering into a lease to enable the tenants to make informed decisions about protecting young children and themselves from lead-based paint hazards.

Working in coordination with Oregon’s Department of Health which administers part of the federal lead program in Oregon, the EPA complaint resulted from inspections done at the following properties owned by the Peaks: Menlo Park Apartments at 521-539 NE 113th; St. John Patio Apartments at 7302 N. New York Ave; Tree Crest Apartments at 16047 East Burnside / 23 NE 162nd Ave; and Cambrian Park Apartments at 7531-7629 SE Steele St.

Rick Albright, the Director of EPA’s Office of Waste and Chemicals Management, explained, “Lead poisoning in children from deteriorating paint is especially tragic because it can be avoided. Landlords and property management companies must take seriously their obligations to inform parents how to protect their children from the hazards associated with the lead paint.”