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Attorney General Settles Lead Law Claim Against Bennington-Area Landlord

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

July 22, 2009 - Peter Cross, the largest landlord in Bennington, agreed to pay $18,000.00 in civil penalties to the State of Vermont for the filing of false lead paint compliance documents and will spend $71,500.00 in lead hazard reduction improvements to the properties he owns as a part of a settlement with the Office of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell.

“Large landlords play an important role as providers of affordable housing to Vermonters,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “But affordable housing needs to be safe housing.”

Vermont’s lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all rental housing built before 1978. A Compliance Statement certifying completion of EMPs must be submitted annually to the Department of Health, to the owner’s insurance carrier, and to all tenants of the property.

The State alleged that Cross, the owner of 37 rental properties in the Bennington area, failed to perform EMPs at 14 properties. In addition, Cross filed 28 false Compliance Statements with the Vermont Department of Health in 2008 and 2009 which represented the EMPs as having been properly performed at the 14 properties.

“Vermont landlords are allowed to self-report their annual compliance with the lead law,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “Landlords are on notice that my Office takes this reporting responsibility seriously and will prosecute those who violate the law.”

Cross agreed to hire an inspector to visit all of his rental properties and complete any needed EMP work within 30 days of the inspection.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.