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Attorney General Settles With Hartford Landlord For Violations Of Lead Law

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507

November 5, 2009

Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that his office settled a claim against Hartford landlord Steven Davis for failure to maintain residential rental properties in accordance with the Vermont lead law. As a part of the settlement, Davis agreed to civil penalties and improvements at the properties totaling $7,500.00 and will immediately bring the properties into compliance with the lead law.

In the past year, the Attorney General’s Office has mailed letters to large landlords on a county-by-county basis to request lead law compliance information on rental properties built prior to 1978. Landlords have been given 90 days to show that they are in compliance with the law.

“The enforcement action against Mr. Davis is the result of his failure to respond to mailings requesting that he bring the properties into compliance with the lead law,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “We know that most Vermont landlords who receive these letters will want to work with my Office to ensure lead law compliance and will use the 90 days to take any necessary corrective steps. The landlords who fail to take advantage of that opportunity can expect to face an enforcement action.”

Lead-based paint in housing is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning, which can cause adverse health effects including decreases in IQ. Vermont’s lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all pre-1978 rental housing. Annually, an EMP Compliance Statement certifying completion of EMPs needs to be submitted to the Department of Health, to the owner’s insurance carrier and to all tenants of the property.

The 90 day mailings are part of a state-wide initiative of the Attorney General’s Office. In the past year, letters have been mailed to over 100 landlords in Rutland, Chittenden, Windsor, Orange, Franklin and the three Northeast Kingdom counties. The Attorney General anticipates mailing similar letters to Vermont landlords in other geographic areas of Vermont in coming months.

For copies of the court documents in this case, recent enforcement actions involving lead, and links to videos and other information concerning the duties of owners and managers of pre-1978 rental housing see the Attorney General’s website at: http://www.atg.state.vt.us and click on the “Lead” link.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.