California Landlord Settles With U.S. EPA Following Lead-Based Paint Violations

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Mary Simms
Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined Fresno-based property owner, Ralph Hovannisian, $16,000 for violating federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements at eight rental properties in Fresno, Calif.

"The EPA has a responsibility to ensure renters and buyers receive adequate information to protect children from potential lead-based paint hazards," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest Region. "This enforcement action is an example of the EPA's commitment to regulating and enforcing toxic substances to protect public health -- especially children, from potential lead-based paint hazards."

Residential property owner and manager Ralph Hovannisian did not provide federally-required lead warning statements to his tenants. He also failed to disclose information or reports on lead-based paint or lead hazards at these locations prior to tenants signing lease agreements. The tenants didn't receive an EPA-approved lead information pamphlet, a statement of knowledge about lead-based paint in the units, or an identification of any records available regarding lead-based paint in the units. These failures resulted in multiple violations of the federally regulated Toxic Substances Control Act.

Children younger than age six are among the most vulnerable to adverse health risks from lead-based paint. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act helps prevent exposure -- especially the exposure of children -- to hazards from lead-based paint by requiring disclosure and notification when selling or leasing applicable housing.

It's estimated three-quarters of the U.S. residential dwellings built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. Lead poisoning in children can have serious, long-term consequences including intelligence deficiencies, learning disabilities, hearing impairment, hyperactivity and/or behavioral problems.

Federal law requires that persons and entities who sell or rent housing built before 1978 must:

provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet; include lead notification language in sales and rental forms; disclose any known lead-based paint hazards and provide reports to buyers or renters; allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and maintain records certifying compliance with applicable federal requirements for three years.

For additional information on lead in paint, dust and soil, see:

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