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Ephrata, Pa. Landlord Settles EPA Complaint Over Lead-Based Paint Hazard Notification

Release Date: 05/04/2006
Contact Information: Mike Frankel (215) 814-2665

PHILADELPHIA - The owners of 14 residential rental properties in Ephrata, Pa., have agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty and complete a $90,000 project to abate lead-based paint in at least eight of their properties as settlement for violations alleged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

On January 12, 2006, EPA filed a complaint against Doneckers Inc., and company CEO
H. William Donecker (collectively Doneckers) under a federal law known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (RLPHA). The law requires landlords and sellers of residential housing built before 1978 to notify tenants and purchasers about the presence of known lead-based paint hazards, or to 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 regarding the dangers of lead-based paint; and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in leases and sales contracts. The federal government banned the sale of lead-based house paint in 1978.

The EPA complaint alleged violations of the lead-based paint disclosure rule involving 10 lease agreements for nine rental properties, signed in 2001 and 2002. The 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.

In the consent agreement with EPA, Doneckers neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations. The settlement reflects the cited parties’ prompt action to address the alleged violations, and full cooperation with EPA in resolving this matter

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

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