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Manchester, N.H. Landlord Charged With Failing to Warn Tenants About Lead Paint

Release Date: 04/12/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - April 12, 2006) - EPA is seeking nearly $60,000 in penalties from two Manchester, N.H.-based landlords for violations of federal lead paint disclosure laws. The violations potentially put families with young children at risk of exposure to lead hazards.

In the complaint, EPA's New England office alleges that William and Johanna Morin violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule when they failed to disclose information about lead paint to tenants who rented the couple’s apartments between July 2003 and July 2005. EPA is seeking a penalty of $57,640 for the lead disclosure violations.

"Lead paint exposure is a serious public health concern for children in New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Property owners and managers play a large part helping to prevent lead poisoning by following lead paint disclosure requirements and making sure families are aware of potential lead hazards in homes."

During the time period subject to EPA's action, the Morins owned and rented 22 apartment buildings which contained 119 apartment units in Manchester, N.H. All of the apartments were in low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods, where a disproportionate number of children suffer from lead poisoning.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies; reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.

The most significant violations alleged in EPA’s complaint concern the Morins’ failure to provide a tenant with copies of records and reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards and failure to provide tenants with EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlets, as required by federal lead-based paint disclosure laws.

According to Mary Ann Cooney, of the N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the New Hampshire Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has been actively working with EPA in an effort to support the enforcement of lead paint regulations and to meet the national goal of eliminating lead poisoning by 2010.

This case is among dozens of lead-related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has taken as part of a collaborative effort between federal, state and municipal agencies and grassroots organizations to make sure property owners, property managers and real estate agents are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. EPA has conducted hundreds of inspections in New England, and, in collaboration with its partners, has conducted numerous compliance assistance workshops.

Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 provide the following information to tenants and buyers: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home; a lead warning statement; statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and copies of all available records or reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This information must be provided to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements. Property owners, property managers and real estate agents equally share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must retain copies of records regarding lead disclosures for three years.

More EPA information on lead paint disclosure requirements and other issues regarding lead:

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