Housing Authority Told to Get the Lead Out

The Springfield, Massachusetts Housing Authority has been ordered to pay an $11,000 penalty for failing to inform tenants their apartments may contain lead-based paint.

In addition, the housing authority agreed to render apartment buildings at four of its properties lead safe at a cost of more than $49,500.

According to HUD and EPA, the Springfield Housing Authority violated the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Residential Lead Act) by failing to inform people seeking to rent pre-1978 housing that their homes may contain potentially dangerous amounts of lead. This action was based on compliance inspections of the Springfield Housing Authority by EPA in 2007 and 2009.

Today’s settlement should remind landlords and property owners that they have a legal responsibility to tell their tenants about known as well as potential lead-based paint hazards in their homes, said Jon L. Gant, Director of HUDs Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. HUD is committed to working with public housing authorities and other housing providers to make certain we protect children from potentially dangerous exposures to lead poisoning.

Before the settlement, the Springfield Housing Authority performed lead-based paint inspections of its properties covered by the Residential Lead Act. Under the settlement, the Springfield Housing Authority will have two years to perform specific lead-based paint abatement work at four apartment complexes, including removal and replacement of basement windows and frames at the Ashley-Gerrish Apartments; steel exterior columns at the John J. Duggan Park Apartments; a wood basement stair system and basement walls at the Robinson Gardens Apartments; and bathtub trim at the Moxon Apartments.

The settlement announced today is the fifth such judicial consent decree or administrative agreement in New England with HUD and EPA. Nearly 12,000 rental units will have to be made safe for tenants by landlords and management companies found to have violated the Residential Lead Act. Moreover, the landlords and management companies involved in these five settlements have paid civil fines totaling $366,133 and paid over $6.5 million to eliminate or reduce lead hazards.

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