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LANDLORD SETTLES EPA COMPLAINT OVER DISCLOSURE OF LEAD-BASED PAINT HAZARDS - Landlord to Pay $20,000 Penalty, Perform $70,000 Lead Abatement Project

Release Date: 01/17/2006
Contact Information: Mike Frankel, 215-814-2665

PHILADELPHIA -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Philadelphia landlord William A. Rowell has settled alleged violations of a federal law requiring the disclosure of known lead-based paint to prospective tenants and homebuyers.

In a consent agreement with EPA, Rowell has agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty for failing to disclose known lead-based paint to tenants in eight rental properties in Philadelphia. The settlement also requires Rowell to conduct $70,000 in lead-based paint abatement projects in at least 12 of his residential rental properties.

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

Under RLPHA’s “lead-based paint disclosure rule,” landlords are required to provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to prospective tenants; include a standard warning statement in the lease on the dangers of lead-based paint; provide purchasers with a 10-day opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint inspection; and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in leases.

EPA’s complaint cited Rowell for 48 violations of the lead-based paint disclosure rule. The violations involve 14 lease agreements for eight rental properties entered into between 2000 and 2004. The properties are located on Elmwood and Paschall avenues as well as Reedland, Saybrook, S. 67th, S. Hobson, and Wheeler streets in Philadelphia.

In investigating this case, EPA has worked closely with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, which provided inspection reports and other records on the properties.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are cooperating in a nationwide effort 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 and learning problems and behavioral difficulties. Young children, in particular, are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. For more information on lead in paint, dust and soil, and the Lead Disclosure Rule, please visit

As part of the settlement, Mr. Rowell has certified his compliance with applicable lead disclosure regulations.