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U.S. EPA Settles Case with Apartment Property Manager Over Lead Paint Disclosure Violations in Norwalk, Calif.

Release Date: 7/9/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant (415) 947-4297

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has settled a lead paint case with a Denver-based apartment building management company and related entities for violations at the Casa de Monterey apartment complex in Norwalk, Calif.

The EPA’s $55,000 settlement with the Apartment Investment and Management Company -- known as AIMCO -- and several related companies involved in the ownership and leasing of the Casa de Monterey complex is based on violations of the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.

The EPA’s complaint alleged that AIMCO failed to provide information required by the act about lead paint hazards to tenants of the 144-unit apartment complex, which is located at 12301 Studebaker Road. AIMCO has since resolved the lead paint issue at Casa de Monterey which, after testing, was fortunately found to be only in the garage area.

"In this case AIMCO has made the commitment to abate the lead paint at this property and correct their violations of the lead-based paint act. However, lead poisoning continues to be a major public health threat in the United States, especially in our cities where thousands of children are still being exposed to lead hazards each year," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA’s Cross Media Division in the Pacific Southwest region. "This case shows that the EPA is serious about making sure renters and buyers get the information they need to protect their children from potential lead threats."

The intent of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act is to help prevent exposure -- especially the exposure of children -- to hazards from lead-based paint by requiring disclosure and notification when selling or leasing applicable housing. Children under six -- such as the children of some of the tenants at the Casa de Monterey -- are most at risk from lead paint hazards.

The act requires that sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 must:

• provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;

• include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;

• disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards 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.

Sellers, lessors and real estate agents all share responsibility for such compliance.

Presently, lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards endanger the health of American children living in as many as 4 million homes. Low-level lead poisoning among these children is widespread, particularly among minority and low-income children.

Lead poisoning in children can have serious, long-term consequences, which include intelligence deficiencies, learning disabilities, hearing impairment, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Consequently, enforcement against sellers, lessors and their agents who fail to comply with the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act is a high priority for EPA, particularly when children are involved.

AIMCO is a real estate investment trust headquartered in Denver with 19 regional operating centers that holds a geographically diversified portfolio of apartment communities. AIMCO, through its subsidiaries, operates approximately 1,800 properties, including approximately 326,000 apartment units, and serves approximately one million residents.

AIMCO’s properties are located in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In agreeing to pay this penalty, AIMCO neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing in this case.

For more information about lead-based paint, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and past EPA cases involving AIMCO, visit this resource: