“Thinking of renting or selling a home or apartment?” asks the Environmental Protection Agency. “Make sure you disclose its lead-based paint history. Mr. Wolfe Landau did not and it cost him a $20,000 fine.”
Landau is one of the many landlords and realtors fined by the EPA for failing to provide an “EPA-approved” pamphlet to tenants seeking to rent or buy a house built before 1978.
And for the EPA, the non-compliance business is booming.
Juan Hernandez of Bridgeport, Conn., faces seven “Level 1” violations for failing to provide seven tenants with a copy of the “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home” pamphlet, which was mandated by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
In Section 1018 of the law, Congress directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the EPA to require the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of housing units built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned.
The EPA filed a complaint against Hernandez on March 27, detailing notifying him that the agency plans to collect $49,980 from him, which works out to $7,140 for each pamphlet he failed to distribute.
“Failure to provide a purchases or lessee an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 745.1 07(a)(I) results in a high probability of impairing the lessee’s ability to properly assess information regarding the risks associated with exposure to lead-based paint and to weigh this information with regard to leasing the target housing in question,” the complaint read.
Hernandez’s total fine for other disclosure violations, such as supplying the property’s lead history and a “Lead Warning Statement,” reached $127,150, payable to the “Treasurer of the United States of America.”