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Pepperell Property Management Company Agrees to Pay Fine for Lead Disclosure Violations
Release Date: 07/01/04
Contact Information: Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1008
For Immediate Release: July 1, 2004; Release # 04-07-03
BOSTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Nissitissit Group Ltd., a Pepperell, MA property management company, has agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty for failing to notify numerous tenants in the Pepperell area about possible lead paints hazards in rental units, as required by law.
The case is among more than a dozen lead-related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has taken since launching an initiative to make sure landlords, property owners and property managers are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. The initiative has included more than 150 inspections around New England, as well as compliance assistance workshops.
“Lead paint is still one of the most serious public health concerns for children in New England,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Property managers and owners have an important role in preventing lead poisoning and need to follow all lead paint disclosure requirements so that families are aware of potential lead hazards.”
Federal law requires that sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 must: provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home"; include lead notification language in sales and rental forms; disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit; and provide available records to prospective buyers or renters, prior to signing purchase and sale contracts and lease documents.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth, hearing problems, and behavior and learning problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer from difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
The settlement stems from an administrative complaint alleging that the Nissitissit Group violated federal disclosure requirements in eight leases executed during 2000 and 2001 by failing to include required lead-paint related information in leases provided to tenants. The buildings were located in Pepperell, Townsend and Shirley, MA. The allegations stemmed from a citizen complaint, an inspection of the company by EPA’s New England office in 2002, and information provided by the company.
One of the eight non-compliant leases cited in the administrative complaint involved tenants with children less than six years of age. A second lease involved tenants with children between 6 and 18. If children are involved in a lease, the violations are considered more serious due to children’s vulnerability to lead poisoning and its consequences.
Nissitissit Group manages about 98 commercial and residential units in the Pepperell area.
For more information on lead paint disclosure requirements and other issues regarding lead, visit EPA's web site at www.epa.gov/ne/topics/pollutants/lead.html