Skip to comments.EPA Levies $40,000+ Fines on Landlords Who Fail to Provide ‘EPA-Approved’ Pamphlets to Tenants
Posted on 08/25/2012 12:41:46 PM PDT by IbJensen
(CNSNews.com) 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 lessees 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.
Hernandezs total fine for other disclosure violations, such as supplying the propertys lead history and a Lead Warning Statement, reached $127,150, payable to the "Treasurer of the United States of America."
The EPA says the penalties are justified because lead exposure a concern when the paint is flaking -- can be hazardous to young children and can lead to damage to the brain and nervous system. Thus the agency requires landlords to provide information about the risks involved.
The pamphlet offers tips to protect your family, such as keep play areas clean, keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces, and clean up paint chips immediately.
Available in six different languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic and Somali, the pamphlet is printed with vegetable oil-based inks on recyclable paper, it states.
The 13-page pamphlet is available online, or landlords may get one free copy from the National Lead Information Clearinghouse. They may also pay $26 for 50 copies from the U.S. Government Printing Office.
The EPA told CNSNews.com that under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) the agency has the authority to inspect, subpoena documents, require testimony and bring civil administrative actions in target housing (housing, schools and daycares built before 1978).
That means houses or apartment built before 1978 are subject to inspection at any time by an EPA inspector to make sure sellers and landlords are in compliance with the law.
In calculating the penalty, the EPA says it takes into account "the nature, circumstances, extent (whether children or pregnant women are affected) and gravity" of the violation -- as well as the violator's ability to pay and continue doing business. The rules for assessing the penalty run 12 pages.
Violations can often be settled with the EPA and result in lower fines. In fact, the EPA awards discounts of up to 30 percent for a cooperative attitude in cases that are settled prior to a hearing.
The EPA make its clear that the penalty must be enough to create an incentive for landlords and realtors to comply with the law. No one should profit by violating the disclosure rule, in other words.
Several cases have led to penalties as high as $50,000 for failure to distribute the EPA brochures.
In September 2011, Douglas Paulino of Hartford, Conn., failed to provide the EPA-approved pamphlet to six lessees, resulting in a fine of $49,700, according to an Initial Decision and Default Order.
A Default Order also was filed against John C. Jones of Roxbury, Massachusetts, in February 2012, when a penalty of $30,960 was levied for not providing the pamphlet to four tenants.
Lester Sykes, of Chicago, Illinois, was penalized $54,180 for 11 counts of failing to provide the lead hazards pamphlet in October of 2011. Sykes was ordered to pay total fines of $159,310 after he failed to respond to a complaint filed against him in 2008.
According to the EPAs enforcement and penalty policy, individuals who knowingly violate a disclosure rule can face up to a year in prison and a maximum criminal fine of $25,000 for each day of the violation. Individuals can be fined a maximum of $100,000 for a single violation that does not result in death, while organizations can be fined up to $200,000 per count.
In addition, landlords can still be fined even if they prove that their property is free of lead-based paint. In that case, the EPA will merely adjust the proposed penalty downward.
EPA may adjust the proposed penalty downward by up to 50 percent if the violator provides documentation that clearly demonstrates that the target housing was interior lead-based paint free in accordance with applicable state and/or local requirements at the time the alleged violation occurred, the policy states.
Question: What kind of government drives its own citizens to poverty on purpose?
Answer: A depraved government, devoid of reason.
A government run by Obama and the democrat party of Eco-terrorists and tyrants are more like the USSR than the USA.
Dissolve the EPA.
Forget lawyers. The EPA should be the first ones against the wall when the Revolution comes.
What is Required?
Before ratification of a contract for housing sale or lease, sellers and landlords must:
Give an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards (”Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home” pamphlet, currently available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic and Somali).
Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. The seller or landlord must also disclose information such as the location of the lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards, and the condition of the painted surfaces.
Provide any records and reports on lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards which are available to the seller or landlord (for multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units, when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation).
Include an attachment to the contract or lease (or language inserted in the lease itself) which includes a Lead Warning Statement and confirms that the seller or landlord has complied with all notification requirements. This attachment is to be provided in the same language used in the rest of the contract. Sellers or landlords, and agents, as well as homebuyers or tenants, must sign and date the attachment.
Sellers must provide homebuyers a 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. Parties may mutually agree, in writing, to lengthen or shorten the time period for inspection. Homebuyers may waive this inspection opportunity.
EPA does only what the Congress commands it to do. The Congress commanded this extortion, and EPA merely must do it. Indeed, given excessive and exorbitant Congressional spending and the perpetual threat of overriding the debt ceiling, EPA has a fiduciary duty to big government to maximize revenues to preserve the fading vestigial aura of national solvency.
Direct thy ire at the Congress! If Congress only repealed (or never passed) this punitive legislation, then EPA would not and could not exact such extortion.
Of note: I have lived in pre-1978 housing my entire life but never received the worthless brochure that Congress mandates with severe penalties.
God has reserved a special place for those who work for the EPA.
How can the government compel certain speech?
One could make the argument that it is illegal to defraud you tenants by failing to disclose a known hazard, such as lead paint. But how does one go from a duty do disclose to a requirement that an citizen must provide a certain pamphlet at a certain time? Shouldn’t he have the right to disclose the hazard in any manner he sees fit, and if he fails to do so adequately be subject to a tort?
And if the landlord hands over the pamphlet and says, “I have to give these pamphlets to everybody, but don’t worry about it, because all of our paint is safe”, has he met the requirements?
And what if a building was built prior to 1978, but it does not contain any lead paint? What is the point of handing out a pamphlet in that case? Back in the early 70s, people knew the hazards of lead-based paint, and many builders were careful not to use them. But these buildings get tarred with the broad brush simply because of the year they were built?
I have three words for these events:
Smith and Wesson.
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Does ANYONE know anyone who has suffered from lead paint? I’ve been around it most of my life and cannot find anyone who has been sickened by it, including the steel plant workers that sprayed red lead on many of their products for marine use.
“I have three words for these events:
Smith and Wesson.”
Just make sure that the ammo is lead free and frangible...
Congress can stop this fascist tyranny anytime but refuses to do so. The Nazis at EPA committed sedition in the Rapanos v US incident. Congress wouldn’t even hold hearings.
There’s a mile long trail of documents and illegal actions proving the EPA’s treason.
What on earth does renting a house to someone have to do with interstate commerce? The feds have no business getting involved in this.
If you think the regulatory alphabet soup agencies are under the control of Congress I have a lead free bridge you can buy....
If only there had been a candidate who wanted to eliminate the EPA. Oh well, I’m sure Romney will rein in the abuses.
The ultimate green round...
The Chicago mob is desperate for cash, so these extortionists will hit any business that hasn’t filed for bankruptcy under their disastrous leadership. You gotta pay protection or they’ll sic the IRS on you.
around it most of my life ....
Same here...perhaps because our parents never let us eat paint chips!
It's all included in the constitutional "penumbra" if you strain hard enough. /s
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