Four Property Management Entities in Vermont Agree to Settle Claims by EPA of Lead Paint Violations
BOSTON – Four Vermont-based property management entities have settled claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they violated federal lead paint laws. EPA recently filed a consent agreement and final order both initiating and resolving an enforcement action against Vanderbilt Development Corporation and Manchester Commons Associates, property management companies based in Manchester. Vanderbilt and Manchester Commons agreed to pay a penalty of $13,493.
EPA alleged that the companies violated the federal Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) and the Lead-based Paint Disclosure Rule. The violations included the failure to obtain both the RRP Rule firm and renovator certification, failure to comply with lead-safe work practices, and the failure to provide proper lead-paint disclosures for four residential lease transactions. The issues of noncompliance were corrected soon after the inspections were concluded. As a condition of the settlement, the companies agreed to remain in compliance.
Bennington-based real estate development and property management company, Hale Resources LLC, agreed to pay a penalty of $2,000 for two RRP Rule violations. E.P. Management Corp, a property management company, based in Rutland, agreed to pay a penalty of $1,000 for one RRP Rule violation. Both companies were not properly certified. Under the RRP Rule, renovation companies doing work on housing constructed prior to 1978 must be firm certified, and renovators performing the work must be properly trained in lead-safe work practices and certified.
EPA performed inspections of these and other entities as part of EPA's lead paint geographic initiative in southern Vermont. In coordination with the Vermont Department of Health, EPA focused its attention in Bennington, Rutland and Windham counties because of elevated blood lead levels in children in those counties.
"Protecting children's health by reducing lead exposure continues to be a high priority for EPA," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Due to the prevalence of older residences and buildings throughout New England, it is important to ensure that lead paint found in these properties is safely dealt with during renovation activities. Through a concerted effort of education, outreach, worksite inspections, and enforcement actions, EPA works to protect human health by mitigating the risk of future childhood lead poisoning."
The Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 be certified by EPA, use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers, and follow lead-safe work practices.
The Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule requires that potential buyers and renters of housing built prior to 1978 receive certain information about lead and lead hazards prior to becoming obligated to buy or rent, and that buyers are provided the opportunity for an independent lead inspection. Sellers, landlords, and agents are responsible for compliance.
Between June and September of 2019, EPA staff performed 25 inspections to assess compliance with RRP Rule and Disclosure Rule requirements. Before these inspections, EPA sent compliance assistance information to approximately 535 renovation contractors and property management firms to raise awareness of EPA's lead paint laws. In addition, EPA hosted an educational webinar for contractors in June 2019 that focused on how to comply with federal lead paint laws and best practices for working safely with lead-based paint during renovations. These efforts work to ensure that home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies, and landlords understand their legal obligations to inform customers and tenants about potential lead paint hazards, and to follow measures to reduce exposure to lead during the home renovation projects.
Conducting compliance inspections with requirements of the lead rules, such as certifications, lead-safe work practices, lead disclosures, and required record keeping, levels the playing field for companies who are complying with the law. It also helps to provide a safer and healthier environment for all residents as well as the workers themselves.
As a result of the past and continuing efforts to reduce lead exposure, EPA has educated thousands of individuals either engaged in this type of work or impacted by it, settled numerous formal and informal enforcement actions, and levied fines against the most serious violators. An important outcome of the compliance assistance provided is that many renovators have stepped forward to become newly certified, both as individuals and firms, and have also sent their workers to be trained.
Federal lead paint information:
- Lead Paint RRP Rule: https://www.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program
- Lead Paint Disclosure Rule: https://www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure
- How to Find an RRP Certified Firm: https://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/pub/index.cfm?do=main.firmSearch
- How to get RRP Firm Certified: https://www.epa.gov/lead/getcertified
- How to find an RRP Trainer: https://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/pub/index.cfm?do=main.trainingSearch
VT State and local information:
- https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/ead/documents/FactSheets/fs_LCP_wm.pdf (PDF) (3 pp, 65 K, About PDF)
- https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/REG_lead-control.pdf (PDF) (60 pp, 166 K, About PDF)
Report a lead paint violation: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/reporting-violation-lead-paint-rules-new-england