Woonsocket landlords charged $14,000 for failure to inform of possibility of lead paint

Woonsocket landlords charged $14,000 for failure to inform of possibility of lead paint

WOONSOCKET – Two city landlords have been ordered to pay fines for not notifying prospective tenants about the potential for lead paint hazards in their buildings.

Donald Ciotola and Carol Simeone have been fined $13,900 by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for not providing lead information pamphlets and lead warning statements to potential renters. Notification of the possibility of the hazard in older buildings is required under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule.

A release from EPA emphasized that exposure to lead paint is a serious health concern in New England due to the age of the housing stock.

"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 release stated.

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule aim to ensure that prospective tenants have enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing to make an informed decision about whether to lease a particular property.

Among other things, the Disclosure Rule requires landlords to provide prospective tenants with an EPA-approved pamphlet; disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and provide prospective tenants with available records and reports pertaining to lead-based paint in the housing to be leased.

"Property managers and owners therefore play an important role in helping to prevent lead poisoning. Violations of the federal disclosure requirements are subject to the penalty provisions set forth in the Toxic Substances Control Act," the release explained.

For more information on lead disclosure rules and health concerns visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/