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Connecticut Landlord Fined for Lead Paint Disclosure Violations in East Hartford

Release Date: 02/27/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass - Feb. 27, 2006) – A Connecticut real estate management company and property owner will pay more than $45,000 to settle EPA claims that they violated lead paint disclosure laws at the Brookside Commons Apartment complex located in East Hartford, Conn.

The companies, MCR Property Management, Inc. and Brookside Commons, LP will pay a penalty of $45,500 in settlement of an administrative enforcement action brought by EPA's New England regional office because of the failure to notify prospective tenants about the potential existence of lead-based paint in residential units.

"Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint. This is especially important for pregnant women and families with young children."

The EPA complaint, filed last Sept. 30, named MCR and Brookside Commons, LP for nineteen violations of the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule, a federal regulation requiring disclosure of information about the presence of lead-based paint. The complaint stemmed from an Aug. 2003 inspection of MCR’s Hamden, Conn. office which revealed that MCR and Brookside Commons, LP had withheld from a significant number of lessees information concerning the presence of lead-based paint in specific apartments in the Brookside Commons complex.

MCR manages and/or owns over 1000 units of pre-1978 rental housing in Connecticut. Brookside Commons, LP owns the property at which the violations occurred, and Brookside Commons is located in an area that is historically disadvantaged. The violations at this property were of particular concern because approximately half of the leases inspected listed children under age 18 as tenants. There were 164 confirmed cases of lead poisoning in children in Hartford and East Hartford in 2003, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Ingestion of lead from deteriorated or abraded lead-based paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning in children.

The case is among dozens of related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has initiated during the past several years to ensure that property owners, property managers and real estate agents are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. The program has included hundreds of inspections in New England, as well as many compliance assistance workshops throughout the region.

The federal Toxic Substances Control Act requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 must provide the following information to prospective tenants and buyers: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet called "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home;" a lead warning statement; and statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This information must be provided to prospective tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements.

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