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Attorney General Announces Plan To Reduce Lead Hazards In Downtown Winooski

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5479

April 22, 2010

Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that his office sent letters to owners of sixty five rental properties in Winooski requesting that they demonstrate compliance with the Vermont lead law at the properties. The landlords have been given 90 days to show that they are in compliance with the law.

“Winooski, like most of Vermont, has an aging housing stock,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “Approximately 80% of Vermont’s rental housing units were built prior to 1978, when lead based paint was being actively marketed and widely applied. Two out of every three lead poisoned children are living in pre-1978 rental housing. Landlords need to ensure that their properties are safe and in compliance with Vermont law, and these letters represent a chance for the landlords to work with us toward that goal.”

These mailings continue the lead poisoning prevention efforts of the Attorney General’s Office state-wide. Since the fall of 2008, the Attorney General’s Office has sent letters to large landlords in 11 of Vermont’s 14 counties. The mailings to Winooski landlords were not based on number of properties owned, rather, the Winooski mailings focused on specific streets in the downtown Winooski area: East Allen Street, Main Street, Mallet’s Bay Avenue, West Allen Street, West Canal Street, Weaver Street, Maple Street, Elm Street, Franklin Street and Weaver Lane.

“By August, anyone driving into or out of downtown Winooski should be able to appreciate the efforts of the property owners to bring their properties into compliance,” Attorney General Sorrell continued. “A person driving down one of these streets will be able to see that peeling and deteriorated paint on the outside of these buildings has been repaired. And tenants living in these properties should also see changes on the interior including: the cleaning of common areas, repair of peeling paint and placement of window well inserts in non-vinyl windows.”

The Attorney General’s plans for Winooski have been welcomed by the city’s legislators. “I fully encourage this effort to protect the youngsters of Winooski from the dangers of lead paint and improve the city’s housing stock,” said Representative Clem Bissonette. Representative Kenneth Atkins added, “I wholeheartedly support the reduction of lead paint in our community and hope that Winooski landlords will take advantage of this opportunity to work with the State.”

Landlords in Winooski (and Burlington) can contact the Burlington Lead Program at 802-865-LEAD (5323) or visit the website of the City of Burlington Community and Economic Development Office’s Housing Division at: www.cedoburlington.org/housing/housing_main.htm for more information and assistance with the Vermont lead law. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s lead hazard reduction program operates on a state-wide basis and can be reached by calling 802-828-5064 or online at: www.vhcb.org.

For information concerning Vermont’s lead in housing law, the duties of owners, managers, and sellers of pre-1978 housing, and for copies of court documents from recent enforcement actions involving lead, see the Attorney General’s website at: http://www.atg.state.vt.us and click on “Lead.”

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.