The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $75,000 settlement with J.D. Home Rentals for failing to notify tenants about lead-based paint at 12 rental units located in Fresno and Clovis, Calif.
As part of the settlement, windows that pose a potential lead hazard will be replaced with energy-efficient models at various apartments managed by the firm, EPA’s Southwest Pacific region office said.
Under the settlement, the company—which owns and manages the properties—is required to pay a $7,500 penalty and must spend $67,500 on window replacements at its properties. Testing is to be conducted at the properties and windows found to contain lead will be replaced with energy-efficient windows, EPA said.
The project must be completed within one year, and J.D. Home Rentals must report back to EPA on its progress every three months.
EPA said its inspectors found that the company failed to provide information to tenants about prior lead hazards before leasing certain units. In addition, J.D. Home Rentals did not have tenants sign forms showing that they received disclosures about lead.
“These failures resulted in violations of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act,” the agency said.
EPA said the 12 properties where the violations were identified serve predominately low-income, Latino and Hmong families. Of the 31 violations discovered, more than half were at units occupied by children under the age of six years.
The inspection was one of several that EPA conducted involving buildings operated by property-management companies in Fresno County that rent older housing that may pose a significant risk of lead hazards. EPA said it “places a high priority on addressing environmental health risks that disproportionately affect children and environmental justice communities.”
Federal law requires that persons and entities that sell or rent housing built before 1978 provide lead-hazard information to buyers or tenants. In addition, contractors who work on such housing or child-occupied facilities must be certified by EPA if they perform significant renovation, repair or painting.
“Nearly one million children in America today have dangerous levels of lead in their blood, and old household paint is the primary source,” said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator of EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “It is crucial for landlords to provide information about lead hazards so that tenants can protect their families from lead poisoning.”
More information on lead in paint, dust and soil, and Toxic Substances Control Act requirements: EPA lead website.