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Attorney General Announces Burlington And Rutland Initiative To Enforce Lead Law

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5506

January 2, 2009 - Landlords in Burlington and Rutland are being asked by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office to demonstrate compliance with Vermont’s lead law. Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that his office recently mailed letters to some of the largest landlords in the Burlington and Rutland areas requesting information on any rental properties built before 1978 and the record of compliance for each.

"Our goal remains increased compliance with the lead law," said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. "And, we know that most landlords want to work with us to ensure their properties comply with Vermont law.”

The Attorney General anticipates mailing similar letters to Vermont landlords with rental properties in other geographic areas of Vermont in coming months. Additional mailings to other Burlington landlords are also planned as a part of a joint effort with the Burlington Lead Program and the Burlington Housing Authority. The Burlington Lead Program has resources to assist property owners, whether or not landlords, to reduce lead hazards in pre-1978 homes.

Lead-based paint in housing is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning, which can cause adverse health effects including decreases in IQ. Vermont’s lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all pre-1978 rental housing.

Annually, an EMP Compliance Statement certifying completion of EMPs must be submitted to the Department of Health, to the owner’s insurance carrier, and to all tenants of the property.

Also today, the Attorney General announced two settlements with Vermont landlords for violations of the lead law. Landlords George Huntington of Bradford and Brad Moore of Johnson each recently entered into Consent Decrees with the State of Vermont and agreed to bring their rental properties into compliance with the law.

Huntington agreed to complete EMPs at his 32 pre-1978 residential rental properties in Bradford, Fairlee, West Fairlee, Thetford, Newbury, Corinth, Vershire, White River Junction, and Wells River. He also agreed to payments to the State and to perform lead hazard reduction work at his properties totaling $48,000.00. Moore agreed to bring his four rental properties in Johnson into compliance and to spend a total of $6,000.00 on payments to the State and lead hazard reduction work at his properties.

For copies of the court documents in these cases and recent enforcement actions involving lead, as well as other information concerning the duties of owners and managers of pre-1978 rental housing, see the Attorney General’s website at: www.atg.state.vt.us and click on “Lead.”

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.