A Rhode Island property owner faces $421,900 in fines for repeatedly violating federal lead-based paint disclosure laws when leasing residential property in Providence.
Private Reserve Properties LLC, of Providence, R.I., failed to notify prospective tenants, including families with young children, about potential lead-paint hazards in housing owned by the company, as required by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule, according to a recent complaint by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Office.
Private Reserve Properties could not be reached for comment.
The complaint alleges 61 violations of the federal disclosure requirements associated with 16 leases signed between 2009 and 2011.
Specifically, the EPA said, the company failed to disclose the presence of lead-based paint or paint hazards in its housing; provide tenants with available reports and records regarding lead-based paint; and supply educational information regarding lead-based paint hazards.
The company owns 50 properties, with about 130 rental units, throughout Providence, EPA said. Many of the company’s holdings, including several subject to the complaint, are in so-called “environmental justice areas,” which have higher-than-average rates of poverty.
‘Serious Health Concern’
“Exposure to lead paint is a serious health concern in New England, due to the age of the housing stock,” EPA said in a statement.
“Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lowered intelligence, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.”
The purpose of the federal lead-paint rules is to ensure that prospective tenants have enough information about lead-based paint hazards—in general and in specific housing—to make an informed decision about whether to lease a particular property.