Source: Environmental Protection Agency Region 1
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine: 617-918-1027
Boston, MA – June 1, 2009) The owner of a Springfield, MA apartment complex and an affiliated property management company face fines for violating federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements.
In a recently filed administrative complaint, EPA alleges that the property manager, National Enterprises Inc., and owner, MA NO. 2, LLC, violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule when they failed to disclose information about lead paint to tenants who rented their Parkview Apartments located at 23-29 Federal Street in Springfield, between June 2004 and January 2005. EPA is seeking a penalty of up to $11,000 per violation for the 30 violations of the Disclosure Rule.
Exposure to lead paint is a concern in older homes and buildings built before 1978, and is a serious health concern for children. Property owners and managers plan an important role in helping to prevent lead poisoning by following lead paint disclosure requirements and making sure families are aware of potential lead hazards so that they can make informed decisions about whether to lease or purchase the housing.
A landlord or seller’s failure to notify tenants or purchasers about lead-based paint and lead paint hazards can potentially put renters and buyers at risk of exposure to lead. In this case, most of the apartments listed in the complaint are known to have at least some lead-based paint in them, even though information currently available to EPA does not indicate that any children were poisoned as a result of the violations alleged by EPA.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle joint pain.
Federal law requires that sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 to:
– Provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to inform renters and buyers about the dangers associated with lead paint;
– Include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
– Disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit and provide available reports to buyers or renters;
– Allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and
– Maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.
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 cooperation with its partners, has conducted many compliance assistance workshops for realtors, property managers and legal counsel.