The owners and the management company of four residential apartment buildings in Richmond, Va. have been found guilty of violating a federal law requiring disclosure of lead-based paint hazards to residential tenants. The judge assessed penalties for the five respondents totaling $84,224, the largest penalty ever assessed in the country in an EPA administrative hearing for lead disclosure violations, more than doubling the previous high penalty. The lead disclosure rule requires that owners, landlords, and agents renting or selling residential property built prior to 1978 must disclose to tenants or purchasers information pertaining to lead-based paint. All of the above properties were built prior to 1978.
“Lead poisoning can be prevented. If parents are concerned that their children may have been exposed to lead-based paint, they can get their homes and children tested, and learn preventative steps that can be taken to avoid lead poisoning,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator mid-Atlantic region.
Renters for five of the 10 apartments had children under the age of six when they entered into the lease. The other five renters had children ranging from seven to 15 years old at the time they entered into the lease. Children under age six are especially vulnerable to the dangerous effects of lead poisoning which can impair their neurological development.