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Hartford, Conn. Residential Real Estate Company Faces Charges For Non-Disclosure of Lead Risks in Housing Units

Release Date: 10/02/2003
Contact Information: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1017

Boston, Mass. – EPA today announced it is filing an action against a Hartford, Conn. residential real estate company for allegedly violating federal regulations regarding disclosure of lead paint risks in residential housing units. EPA's complaint alleges that Intown Management Corp., Intown West Associates, Limited Partnership and Apartment Investment and Management Company (AIMCO) failed to follow required procedures regarding disclosure of lead hazards to prospective tenants at 80 residences at Clemens Place in Hartford.

"Lead paint exposure can still be a serious health concern for people – especially kids – living in older homes throughout New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Lead poisoning can cause a lifetime of problems for children. This problem is preventable, so it's especially important that landlords take steps to identify lead paint in their dwellings and to inform tenants, especially with little children, if there is a potential for lead."

EPA's complaint alleges that between Sept. 24, 2000 and Sept. 24, 2002 there were 80 separate leases for which Intown Management Corp. failed to notify tenants and prospective tenants of lead hazards in residences, failed to provide tenants and prospective tenants with federally-required disclosures of lead hazards and failed to provide federally-mandated lead hazard informational pamphlets. Three of the 80 leases involved tenants with children less than six years of age, and this will be considered as EPA determines the penalty it will seek against Intown and AIMCO. Intown West Associates is a partnership which owns the property. AIMCO, the largest residential landlord in the United States, is a partner in Intown West. In January 2002, AIMCO entered into a settlement with EPA for alleged violations of federal lead-based paint regulations. As part of the settlement, AIMCO agreed to test and clean up lead-based paint hazards in more than 130,000 apartment units nationwide thereby providing lead-safe units for those tenants. The units at issue in this enforcement action are not covered by AIMCO's previous settlement with EPA.

EPA's New England Office has initiated a dozen other lead-related criminal and civil cases since launching a region-wide initiative to make sure landlords and property owners and managers are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. The initiative has included nearly 200 inspections around New England, as well as compliance assistance workshops.

Lead was contained in paint prior to 1978, and buildings constructed before then are known to present lead-based hazards. Lead poisoning is a significant problem in New England since the region has some of the oldest housing stock in the country. Low-level lead poisoning is widespread among American children, affecting as many as three million children under the age of six, with lead paint the primary cause. Children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning since they are more likely to ingest lead paint and are more sensitive to the effects of lead. Elevated blood lead levels in young children can trigger learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and even brain damage