Enforcement and Assistance in New England
Lead Paint Hazards
Lead poisoning is a serious and preventable health threat for children and vulnerable populations. New England residents are especially at risk because a large amount of the housing is older and can contain lead paint. It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint, especially if they are pregnant or have young children. The purpose of the Federal Lead Paint Disclosure Rule is to provide tenants and purchasers of pre-1978 housing with appropriate information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint in the specific housing, so that a renter or purchaser can make an informed decision about whether to lease or purchase the housing.
In addition to the Federal Lead Disclosure Rule, the Region conducted inspections pursuant to the Lead Pre-Renovation Rule. Inspectors examined properties that have been renovated where more than two square feet of paint in “target housing”, housing built before 1978, has been disturbed. Plumbing, drywall, painting, electrical work, replacement of doors or windows, or any other activity that disturbs more than two square feet of paint is considered “renovation.” During the upcoming year, the Region will increase inspections at the vast number of renovation projects.
Under the Lead Paint Assistance and Enforcement Program, we remain focused on landlords with significant holdings throughout New England. Over the past fiscal year, the Region conducted 72 inspections covering over 10,000 housing units across the region. In addition, of the cases settled in 2005, more than $48,000 was paid in fines and penalties and more than $128,500 was paid in supplemental environmental projects and injunctive relief to be used for testing and abating lead paint hazards.
- Providence-based real estate investor Patrick C. Conley and three of his companies have agreed to pay $20,000 to settle claims that they violated federal lead paint disclosure rules involving six houses in Providence, Central Falls and Narragansett. The complaints allege that Conley and his companies - Options Realty, LLC, Skybox Realty, RIPG, and Sedona Associates, LLC - violated the federal lead paint disclosure rule when they sold the six residential properties between 2000 and 2002 without providing warnings of potential lead paint hazards in the properties. Nearly all the violations took place in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Specifically, Conley and his companies were cited for failing to provide purchasers with lead warning statements and lead hazard information pamphlets and for failing to disclose whether they had knowledge and records or reports pertaining to potential lead-based paint hazards.
- Ms. Ardelle Cowie and the Chelsea Company of New Haven, CT, will pay $8,116 and will reduce the risk of lead poisoning by replacing over 200 old windows in 31 apartments to settle claims that the property owner and her management company violated lead paint disclosure laws at her New Haven rental properties. The window replacements will cost approximately $80,000. EPA claimed that neither the building owner nor her management company were consistently complying with federal law regarding notification of tenants about health hazards posed from exposure to lead. Once Cowie learned of the lead disclosure laws through EPA's action, she immediately acknowledged the importance of the laws and worked cooperatively with EPA to reach a settlement.
- The owners of seven apartment units in the Lewiston, ME area have agreed to pay a fine and to replace windows and doors containing lead-based paint at one of their residential housing properties in Auburn, ME to settle charges that the companies failed to notify prospective tenants of risks from exposure to lead-based paint. The Portland-based companies, Pier Properties, Inc. and Atlantic Holdings, LLC, own and lease properties in several locations in Maine. EPA's investigation showed that the companies failed to notify tenants, as required by law, that there may have been lead-based paint within the living quarters of leased apartments and failed to notify tenants of the risks from exposure to lead-based paint. The settlement requires the companies to spend $26,565 to replace windows and doors that contain lead-based paint and to pay a penalty of $2,880.
- The former owner of fourteen apartments in Franklin, NH, will pay a $6,125 fine and undertake environmental projects worth $21,950, settling claims that it failed to inform tenants about the possible presence of lead paint in their buildings, as required by federal law. Jason Grevior, doing business as GREMAR Inc., violated the federal Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act by failing to follow rules requiring disclosure of potential lead hazards to prospective tenants.
- Cranston-based real estate investor Norman Reisch and one of his companies, Juris Realty Associates, Inc., have agreed to pay $11,000 to settle claims that they violated federal lead paint disclosure rules involving three houses in Providence and Warwick, RI. EPA alleged that Juris violated the lead disclosure rule when it sold residential properties in Providence and Warwick in 1999 and failed to provide warnings of potential lead paint hazards in the properties. The EPA also alleged that Reisch, acting as an agent for the sale of a residential property in Providence in 2000, violated the lead disclosure rule by failing to provide warnings of potential lead paint hazards in the properties and by failing to insure that the seller did so. Specifically, Reisch and Juris were cited for failing to provide purchasers with lead warning statements and lead hazard information pamphlets and for failing to disclose whether they had knowledge and records or reports pertaining to potential lead-based paint hazards.