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EPA Files Complaint Against Landlord for Failing to Warn Tenants About Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing in MA, RI and CT
Release Date: 06/29/2005
Contact: David Deegan, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017, email@example.com
For Immediate Release: June 29, 2005; Release #dd050610
The US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking cash penalties against a large Massachusetts-based landlord charged with violations of federal lead-based paint disclosure laws at hundreds of apartments in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
In a complaint filed today, EPA's New England office charged Dr. Anthony Ping Zuo and his company, Great Wall Properties, with 64 violations of the federal Lead Disclosure Rule regarding properties owned and leased by Zuo and his company.
During the time period included in EPA's action, Zuo and Great Wall owned and leased 42 apartment buildings with 299 rental units in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Eighty percent of the apartments where violations took place were in low-income neighborhoods in Chelsea, Roxbury, Lynn, Lawrence, Holyoke, Springfield and Fall River, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut. Many of the violations involved apartments occupied by families with young children. Each violation is subject to a civil penalty of up to $11,000.
"Lead paint is a critical public health concern for children in New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Property owners and managers must do their part to prevent lead poisoning by following lead paint disclosure requirements and making sure families are aware of potential lead hazards."
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth, hearing problems, and behavior and learning problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
According to EPA, Zuo and Great Wall failed to inform tenants of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; failed to provide tenants with copies of records and reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards and failed to provide tenants with EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlets as required by the lead-based paint disclosure laws.
The case is among dozens of lead-related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has taken since launching an initiative to make sure property owners, property managers and real estate agents are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. The initiative has included hundreds of inspections in New England, as well as compliance assistance workshops.
Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 must 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.
For more information on lead paint disclosure requirements and other issues regarding lead, visit the agency's web site at www.epa.gov/ne/topics/pollutants/lead.html.
Internet Training Course: Lead Safety for Remodeling, Repair, and Painting (EPA HQ)
Lead Poisoning, Lead Paint, etc.
Lead Paint Enforcement Program
Lead Paint Disclosure Rules