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Manchester, N.H. Landlord Charged With Failing to Warn Tenants About Lead Paint
Release Date: 06/19/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – June 19, 2007) – A Manchester N.H.-based landlord has been cited by EPA 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 Juliet Ermitano violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule by failing to disclose information about lead paint to tenants who rented apartments between September 2004 and July 2006.
"Lead paint exposure is a serious public health concern for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Property owners and managers play a large part in 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, Ms. Ermitano owned 32 rental units in five apartment buildings in Manchester. The Manchester properties were all built in the late 1800s or early 1900s and are located in the urban center of Manchester. Between 5- and 10-percent of the rental units were rented to tenants with children aged 18 years and younger. 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.
EPA’s complaint states that Ms. Ermitano failed to inform tenants of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, furnish tenants with copies of records and reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, and provide tenants with EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlets, as required by federal lead-based paint disclosure laws. The violations could carry a penalty of up to $92,800.
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 its partners, has conducted numerous compliance assistance workshops. EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) jointly investigated Ms. Ermitano’s compliance with federal lead-based paint laws.
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 share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must retain copies of disclosure records for at least three years.
More information: EPA Lead Paint Enforcement in New England (epa.gov/region1/enforcement/leadpaint)
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