Sunday, June 21, 2015

Environment Cops Clip Connecticut Landlord For $54K+, Require $20K Risk Mitigation Project To Settle Allegations That EPA Rules Regulating Lead-Based Paint Disclosure & Remediation Were Violated, Lessening Safeguards Against Exposure To Health Hazards For Tenants With Toddlers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") (Boston, Massachusetts Regional Office) recently announced:
  • EPA has reached a settlement with Garden Homes Management Corp. of Stamford, Conn. for alleged violations of EPA’s Lead Paint Disclosure and Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rules.

    The Lead Paint Disclosure Rule requires landlords and property management firms to provide information about lead-based paint to their tenants upon leasing pre-1978 housing. The RRP rule is designed to ensure that painting and home renovation contractors comply with requirements designed to protect children and workers from exposure to lead-based paint during painting and other renovation activities at pre-1978 housing.

    In a complaint, EPA alleged that Garden Homes failed to comply with lead disclosure requirements when it leased 18 residential units at nine Conn. properties. The complaint also alleged that Garden Homes performed at least one renovation in a Naugatuck, Conn. property in violation of RRP Rule requirements for certifying renovation firms, providing lead hazard information to tenants, using only RRP-certified workers, and keeping records of compliance. The violations are alleged to have occurred from Sept. 2010 to Nov. 2012, based on records obtained by EPA during two separate inspections.

    Under the terms of the settlement, Garden Homes will pay a $54,644 civil penalty, as well as complete a $20,000 lead risk mitigation project to remove and replace approximately 24 original, lead-paint containing windows from a 1961 Garden Homes property located in Bridgeport, Conn.

    Infants’ and children’s developing bodies are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead exposure, which can include lifelong impacts such as developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The disclosure requirements, and the safe work practices found in the RRP rule, are designed to help ensure that people are protecting their kids from suffering serious, lifelong health impacts from lead exposure.”

    EPA’s Disclosure and RRP Rules are designed to prevent childhood exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards.

    The RRP rule requires individuals performing renovations for compensation at most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be properly trained. There are certification and training requirements for individual renovators and firms performing renovations to ensure that safe work practices are followed during renovations. EPA’s RRP Rule became effective on April 22, 2010 and allows for the assessment of penalties that may reach up to a maximum of $37,500 per violation per day.(1)
For the entire news release, see Stamford, Conn. Property Management Firm to Pay Fine and Take Measures to Protect Children from Lead-Based Paint in EPA Settlement.

(1) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes (as well as child care facilities and pre-schools) built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.

Go here for links to other examples of landlords getting hammered by the EPA for tripping over the federal lead paint rules, and here to file a complaint reporting violations with EPA.

Go here for EPA Lead Paint Renovation Compliance Guide for landlords, property managers, contractors, and maintenance personnel working in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.

Editor's Note: It's not unheard of for a landlord to get sentenced with jail time for violating EPA's lead paint rules. See Baltimore City Landlord Sentenced to Prison for Lead Paint Violations in Rental Properties He Owns and Manages (Previously Cited by the State for Numerous Lead Paint Violations and Documented Children with Elevated Lead Blood Levels Living in His Properties).

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