EPA Enforcement Action Helps Protect Children in New Haven from Lead Paint Hazards
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BOSTON – An EPA settlement with several affiliated property owners and property management company in New Haven, Conn. requires the company and their affiliates to identify and reduce lead paint hazards in residential rental properties they own.
A Consent Agreement and Final Order filed by EPA resolves alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act’s Residential Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule (Disclosure Rule) and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule against property manager Pike International, LLC, and property owners 173-175 Park LLC; 1533 Chapel LLC; Quinnipiac Gardens, Inc.; H & H Residential LLC; FOR LIFE LLC; 287 Norton, LLC; 325 Fountain, LLC; 477 Prospect, LLC; and 80 Sherman, LLC. Pike and its affiliated entities manage and own over 800 residential units in New Haven, Conn.
The lead paint Disclosure Rule requires owners/managers of rental properties to provide prospective renters both with general information about lead-based paint risks and to provide specific information on whether or not there is known lead-based paint in a rental unit prior to the individual signing a lease.
The settlement is significant because the Disclosure Rule Requirements are tenants’ only means of learning about the risks of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, how to protect themselves from such hazards and make informed decisions about whether or not to rent a particular unit. Further, compliance with the RRP Rule protects residents of pre-1978 housing undergoing renovation from exposure to lead-based paint.
An EPA review of Pike’s records revealed numerous instances in which the companies had not complied with either the Disclosure Rule or with RRP practices.
EPA alleged that the companies (1) failed to provide tenants with an EPA-approved lead-hazard information pamphlet; (2) failed to disclose to tenants the presence of known lead-based paint and/or records or reports concerning lead-based paint; (3) failed to include a Lead Warning Statement in or attached to lease contracts; (4) failed to obtain initial firm certification under the RRP Rule prior to performing renovation work on pre-1978 housing; (5) failed to assign a certified renovator to renovation work being performed on pre-1978 housing; and (6) failed to maintain records demonstrating compliance with RRP Rule requirements.
Under the agreement, Pike will pay a penalty of $12,139 and will spend at least $109,246 on a lead abatement project at three of their properties. The settlement also calls for the company to institute a management system to ensure compliance with the Disclosure Rule and RRP Rule, and to provide documentation of its compliance with those rules. As a result of this settlement, Pike and its related entities will comply with federal lead paint laws. This action will help to ensure that tenants in the New Haven area, including children, will be better protected from the risks of lead-based paint.
Lead poisoning of infants and children can cause lowered intelligence, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
The lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule is designed to prevent children’s exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the Rule requires individual renovators to complete an accredited training course, and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA.