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Housing Authority Settles Lead Case

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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A Massachusetts public housing authority has agreed to pay $11,000 to resolve claims that it failed to inform prospective tenants about the possibility of lead-based paint in their homes.

In addition to the penalty, the Springfield, MA, Housing Authority agreed to perform lead-paint abatement work at four apartment buildings at a cost of more than $49,500, according to a joint announcement Wednesday (July 31) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lead hazard pamphlet
EPA

The Lead Disclosure Rule requires home sellers and landlords of housing built before 1978 to provide an EPA-approved pamphlet to prospective buyers and tenants.

The settlement documents were not immediately available for review.

The housing authority, which owns and manages more than 2,000 public housing units at 27 sites throughout Springfield, did not respond to request for comment.

Failure to Notify

Federal inspectors say the Springfield Housing Authority violated the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Residential Lead Act) in 2007 and 2009 by failing to inform people seeking to rent pre-1978 housing that their homes may contain potentially dangerous amounts of lead.

“Today's settlement should remind landlords and property owners that they have a legal responsibility to tell their tenants about known as well as potential lead-based paint hazards in their homes,” said Jon L. Gant, director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control.

The Lead Disclosure Rule, authorized by the Act, requires home sellers and landlords of housing built before 1978 to provide an EPA-approved “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” pamphlet and warn prospective buyers and tenants of the hazards of lead-based paint.

Lead Abatement Work

Before the settlement, the housing authority performed lead-based paint inspections of its properties covered by the Residential Lead Act. Four apartment complexes were found to contain lead-based paint.

Springfield Housing Authority
Springfield Housing Authority / Shamass.org

The Springfield Housing Authority recently completed a $6.7 million upgrade project at the Robinson Gardens Apartments, according to a news release. The settlement with EPA and HUD requires additional work to make the complex lead-safe.

As part of the settlement, the Springfield Housing Authority will have two years to perform specific lead-based paint abatement work, including removing and replacing windows, frames and stair systems.

Projects at the following apartment complexes are covered in the settlement.

  • Ashley-Gerrish Apartments;
  • John J. Duggan Park Apartments;
  • Robinson Gardens Apartments; and
  • Moxon Apartments.

The housing agency has agreed to spend at least $49,500 on the projects.

The lead abatement work required by the agreements goes beyond what Springfield Housing Authority is required to do under HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule, officials say.

No. 5 for New England

The settlement announcement is the fifth such judicial consent decree or administrative agreement in New England between HUD and EPA. 

The landlords and management companies involved in the five settlements have paid civil fines totaling $366,133 and paid more than $6.5 million to eliminate or reduce lead hazards, the federal agencies said.

   

Tagged categories: Enforcement; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Lead; Lead Disclosure Rule; Lead paint abatement; Regulations

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