Company Faces Penalties Over Lead-Based Paint Notice
A citation last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against a real estate company for not providing its tenants with information on lead-based paint should serve as a warning to remodelers, landlords and real estate agents that they can face stiff penalties for failing to comply with provisions of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.
Under the law, sellers and landlords of residential housing built before 1978, when the federal government banned the sale of lead-based house paint, are required to notify purchasers and tenants about the presence of known lead-based paint or disclose their lack of knowledge about its possible presence.
The law also requires landlords to provide a lead-based paint information pamphlet to prospective tenants, provide a standard warning statement in the lease on the dangers of lead-based paint and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in sales contracts and leases.
Remodelers are required by law to provide home owners with the brochure “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” before beginning work on any house built before 1978. “It’s the right thing to do, and professional remodelers know that,” said Vince Butler, chair of the NAHB Remodelors™ Council.
In its recent citation, EPA says that Allied Realty failed to disclose information on lead-based paint to tenants in 16 rental properties in Washington, D.C. and the Maryland suburbs. The agency’s complaint cites 82 violations of the lead-based paint disclosure rule, involving 19 lease agreements for 16 rental properties signed between November 2001 and May 2004.
Among the cited violations are failure to disclose known lead-based paint to prospective tenants, failure to provide available reports regarding lead-based paint and failure to provide lead-warning statements in leases.
The law provides for a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 per violation. EPA will propose a specific penalty after giving the company an opportunity to provide relevant information. The company will then have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.
For more information on the issue of lead-based paint, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.