Saturday, August 08, 2015

Lawsuit: Landlord Refused To Let Tenants Out Of Their Leases, Despite Its Careless Sandblasting Activities That Resulted In Toxic Lead Dust Pouring Into Their Apartments Through Windows, Cracks In Floors

In Manchester, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Public Radio reports:
  • One of New Hampshire’s largest landlords, Brady Sullivan Properties, is under scrutiny from city, state and federal regulators for lead contamination in one of its buildings in Manchester.

    Tenants contend their landlord and a contractor hired by Brady Sullivan are responsible for the lead dust that permeated their apartments, and 22 have filed a lawsuit.(1)

    It will be up to the courts to determine who’s at fault, but one thing is clear: Brady Sullivan has downplayed the health risk to its tenants in the weeks since the contamination happened.

    Brady Sullivan has made a name for itself converting old mills around New England into commercial and residential space. But since many of those mills spent decades as industrial sites, they often come with a host of environmental risks, requiring complex renovations.

    "So a contractor will come in," says Beverly Drouin, a lead expert with the Department of Health and Human Services, "they’ll remove the lead, the asbestos, the pigeon guano, the PCBs, the mercury, whatever’s in that building – but that building is empty. Never in my professional career have I ever seen sandblasting activities in an occupied building."

    That is, she had never seen sandblasting in an occupied building until May 12, when regulators shut down a construction site just below 98 Brady Sullivan apartments in a Manchester building called Mill West. Brady Sullivan markets Mill West as a luxury development, and rents range from $1,200 to $2,550 a month.

    Within one day of regulators stepping in, here’s what was clear: Brady Sullivan’s contractor did not have the proper permits or training; toxic lead dust had piled up in at least one apartment; and tenants had complained clouds of dust poured through their windows and cracks in their floors.

    Yet two days later, Brady Sullivan sent an email to tenants stating the dust had been fully contained, and there was no evidence of a “risk of any health hazard.” Since then Brady Sullivan’s efforts to address the problem prompted regulators to crack down on the landlord, pushed a contractor to quit, and left many tenants angry, scared and confused.
For more, see Brady Sullivan Downplayed Health Risk Of Lead Dust To Tenants.

(1) See Mill West tenants file suit over lead:
  • Several Mill West tenants complained [] that the company is not releasing them from their leases. [...] “Brady Sullivan has refused to terminate our lease; they’ve said they’re not responsible. The terms of lease require 60-day notice and 90 days rent, which would be $4,000,” said Danielle Mattiello. “I don’t want anything more from Brady Sullivan than to get out of my lease.”

    [Tenants' attorney Francis] Murphy said his clients have been told they cannot terminate their leases. The lawsuit also says Brady Sullivan should not have claimed the property was “lead safe.” epa environmental protection agency

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