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Attorney General Settles Six Claims With Landlords For Failing To Live Up To Terms Of Prior Agreements With Department Of Health

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

October 28, 2008 - Those who enter into agreements with the State of Vermont should live up to their end of the bargain or expect further enforcement by the State. Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that in recent weeks his office has settled six different claims with landlords arising from the failure of the landlords to comply with the terms of agreements (called “Assurances of Discontinuance”) entered into with the Vermont Department of Health in the past. All of the violated agreements concerned the landlord’s failure to maintain residential rental properties in accordance with the Vermont lead laws.

The Attorney General settled with the following landlords based upon agreements entered into with the Department of Health in 2006-2007: Gary Gunther of Arlington, Harold Harvey of Williston, Kingdom Property Investment of Irasburg, Karuna Kress of Bellows Falls, David Montesi of Proctorville, and Bruce and Patricia Waryas of Bellows Falls. In each of the cases, the landlord agreed to comply with the Vermont lead laws by performing essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) at their respective pre-1978 rental housing and by filing annual statements certifying completion of EMPs with the Department of Health and the owner’s insurance carrier. Since July 1, 2008, the statements have to also be given to all tenants of the property. Each landlord admitted to violating the Vermont lead laws, the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, and the terms of their settlements with the Department of Health. The Attorney General imposed a $5000 civil penalty and required full and timely compliance with the lead law on all pre-1978 residential rental housing in which they have or acquire an ownership interest.

“When the State of Vermont enters into legal agreements with individuals to resolve enforcement claims, its expectation is that the individual will hold up their end of the deal,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “The failure to do so will lead to additional enforcement and penalties.”

The Attorney General also announced the settlement, under similar terms, of a Consumer Fraud Act claim against Stor a Lot VT, LLC, a Maryland company for failure to maintain a Montpelier residential rental property in accordance with the Vermont Lead Law.

For copies of the court documents in these and recent enforcement actions relating to the lead law, and 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 the “Lead” link. Final orders of the Court will be posted when available

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.