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Attorney General Resolves Claim Against Tenant Who Filed False Lead Law Compliance Documents

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

December 4, 2009

Meredith Sevigny, a child care provider in West Danville, Vermont, will pay the State of Vermont $1,000.00 in civil penalties for the filing of false lead paint compliance documents as a part of a settlement with the Office of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell.

The State alleged that Sevigny, a tenant who rents an apartment in a West Danville property, falsified lead law compliance documents when the property’s non-compliance was brought to her attention. Sevigny operates a child care facility in the rented apartment.

Every landlord with pre-1978 rental properties, and every owner of a child care facility, is required to submit annual compliance statements which show that the landlords have performed the essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) and the properties are in compliance with the lead law. Tenants who live in pre-1978 rental housing or rent their day care facilities should be receiving copies of the annual lead law compliance statement from their landlord. As a tenant, Sevigny was not responsible for filing the compliance statement, but faced an enforcement action due to her having filed a false compliance statement with the Department of Health. Lead in paint and dust from lead paint are the major sources of lead exposure for Vermont’s children, according to the Department of Health. Lead can cause permanent damage

to children, including learning disabilities, behavioral problems, lower IQ, and other health problems. In 2007, about 1,600 Vermont children under the age of 6 who were tested for lead had blood lead test results at or above the current Vermont level of concern (5 micrograms per deciliter).

“In a child care facility, where the presence of young children is a certainty, proper steps must be taken to minimize the risk of exposure to lead paint,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “Child care providers and the owners of the buildings where child care facilities are located all need to do their part to prevent the harms caused by lead paint.”

For information concerning the Vermont lead law, including the duties of property owners, 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.” For information on child care facilities, see the Department for Children and Families website at: http://dcf.vermont.gov.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.