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Attorney General Settles Claim Against A Property Management Firm Over Lead Paint Maintenance Violations

CONTACT: Wendy Morgan, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507

Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that his office settled a Consumer Fraud Act claim against Parkside Properties, a Montpelier rental property management company, for failure to maintain its clients’ properties in compliance with Vermont’s lead paint law despite representing to consumers that it understood and applied the correct law when performing its maintenance services.

Lead-based paint in housing is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning, which can result in adverse health effects, including decreases in IQ. Vermont’s Lead Poisoning Law requires that Essential Maintenance Practices (EMPs) be performed in all rental target housing, including the installation of window well inserts, the visual inspection of properties at least annually for deteriorated lead-based paint, and the restoration of surfaces to be free of deteriorated lead-based paint within 30 days after such paint has been visually identified. Vermont Lead Poisoning Law also requires that an affidavit attesting to EMP performance be filed with the Vermont Department of Health and with the property owner’s liability insurance carrier.

“Lead paint in housing is the most common means of childhood lead poisoning,” said Attorney General Sorrell, “and thousands of Vermont children are lead-poisoned each year. We appreciate Parkside’s cooperative and prompt approach to resolving this case. Owners and managers of pre-1978 apartments are now on notice that they can no longer ignore their obligation to do their part in preventing childhood lead poisoning in Vermont.” Under the terms of the Assurance of Discontinuance, no later than February 21, 2008, Parkside Properties will ensure that Essential Maintenance Practices inside residential units are completed in 54 pre-1978 rental buildings currently under a “repair and maintenance” contract; external EMP's by May 31, 2008. Going forward, Parkside Properties will keep all pre-1978 rentals covered by a maintenance services contract EMP-compliant prior to occupancy or within 30 days of the contract for occupied units. The Office of the Vermont Attorney General will impose a $5,000 civil penalty if Parkside fails to fully and timely comply with the AOD.

For more information regarding the legal obligations of pre-1978 rental owners, please visit: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/lead/lead_property.aspx. For a listing of recent cases involving lead, see the Attorney General’s website at: www.atg.state.vt.us

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