294 Units, Two Landlords, One Enormous Clean Up Bill

landlord helpHUD and the EPA announced they have settled with two Cincinnati area landlords in an uncommon joint prosecution.

The settlement agreement requires the landlords to replace windows and clean up lead-based paint hazards in 31 residential properties containing a total of 294 units, pay an estimated $480,000 for lead abatement work, and ante up another $12,500 in fines.

The landlords violated the Federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act by failing to inform tenants that their homes may contain potentially dangerous levels of lead.

At least two children were poisoned while they lived in homes owned or managed by the landlords.

Going forward, both companies will ensure that information about lead-based paint will be provided to their tenants before they are obligated under their lease.

The properties have been tested and the landlords will perform lead-based paint hazard reduction work, including window replacement and abatement of all friction and impact surfaces, within a period of five years.

HUD, EPA and the Department of Justice are continuing similar enforcement efforts around the nation, and so far have taken enforcement actions in which landlords have agreed to conduct lead-based paint hazard reduction in more than 186,253 apartments and pay $1,317,399 in civil penalties. In addition, a total of $703,750 has been provided by Defendants to community-based projects to reduce lead poisoning. In settling these cases, landlords have committed to expend more than an estimated $31 million to address lead-based paint hazards in the affected units.

The Cincinnati settlements represent the first two joint Lead Disclosure Rule enforcement actions in that area, according to U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart.

The Lead Disclosure Rule requires home sellers and landlords of housing built before 1978 to disclose to purchasers and tenants knowledge of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards using a disclosure form, signed by both parties, attached to the sales contract or lease containing the required lead warning statement, provide any available records or reports, and provide an EPA-approved “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” pamphlet. Sellers must also provide purchasers with an opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint inspection and/or risk assessment at the purchaser’s expense. Acceptable lead disclosure forms can be found at www.hud.gov/offices/lead/enforcement/disclosure.cfm and www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadbase.htm.

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