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Two Rhode Island landlords will pay an EPA penalty of $13,900 for violations of federal lead disclosure laws.

EPA alleged in a complaint that the couple violated the federal Toxic Substance Control Act when they failed to notify prospective tenants about potential lead-paint hazards in housing they owned. The failure violated the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule.

Lead paint is a serious health concern in New England due to the age of much of the housing stock. Infants, young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure; however, adults may experience high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.

The purpose of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule is to ensure that prospective tenants have enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing to make an informed decision about whether to lease a particular property.

Among other things, the Disclosure Rule requires landlords to provide prospective tenants with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet and lead warning statement; disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and provide prospective tenants with available records and reports pertaining to lead-based paint in the housing to be leased.

Property managers and owners therefore play an important role in helping to prevent lead poisoning. Violations of the federal disclosure requirements are subject to the penalty provisions set forth in the Toxic Substances Control Act.

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