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Pennsylvania Landlord Cited for Lead-based Paint Violations

Release Date: 02/06/2006
Contact Information: Mike Frankel 215-814-2665

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited Doneckers, Inc., and the company CEO, H. William Donecker, for 40 violations of a federal law requiring landlords and home sellers to disclose information on lead-based paint hazards. The violations occurred at nine of the company’s 40 housing units in Ephrata, Pa.

Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (RLPHA), landlords and sellers of residential housing built before 1978 (when the federal government banned the sale of lead-based house paint) are required to notify tenants and purchasers about the presence of known lead-based paint hazards, or disclose their lack of knowledge of such hazards.

RLPHA also requires landlords to provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to prospective tenants; provide a standard warning statement in the lease on the dangers of lead-based paint; and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in leases and sales contracts.

In its administrative complaint, EPA cites 40 violations of the lead-based paint disclosure rule, involving 10 lease agreements for nine rental properties signed in 2001 and 2002. The alleged violations include the failure to disclose known lead-based paint hazards (or lack of knowledge of such hazards) to prospective tenants, and the failure to provide available reports regarding lead-based paint hazards. The law provides a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 per violation of RLPHA. EPA will propose a specific penalty after giving the cited parties an opportunity to provide relevant information.

EPA is cooperating with other federal, state, and local agencies to protect tenants and home buyers from the health risks of lead-based paint. Young children are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. 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.

Doneckers has the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and any proposed penalty.

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