St. Louis Property Lessor to Pay Civil Penalty for Lead-Based Hazards

Drury Development Corp. of St. Louis has agreed to replace windows and remove lead from four of the single-family residential properties it leases in the city, as part of a settlement with EPA Region 7 over allegations that it failed to inform tenants about actual and potential lead-based paint hazards in its pre-1978 housing.

The company will pay a civil penalty of $3,479 to the United States and spend an additional minimum of $31,311 on the supplemental environmental project work. Through the project, a total of 54 lead-based painted windows will be replaced with lead-free windows at the four properties , under terms of the settlement.

According to a consent agreement and final order filed this week, from January 2007 to November 2007, Drury allegedly failed to provide a required lead paint hazard information pamphlet and statement to its tenants before the tenants were obligated under lease agreements. The corporation does not admit or deny those allegations in the settlement.

The Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule is a public right-to-know regulatory initiative under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act. The intent of the act and its accompanying regulations is to help prevent exposure to lead-based paint by requiring disclosure and notification of actual and potential hazards when selling or leasing housing.

EPA notes that high levels of lead in children can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system and other widespread health problems, such as reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavioral difficulties.

The disclosure rule requires landlords, sellers, and real estate agents to provide prospective tenants and purchasers a lead hazard information pamphlet, any information and/or reports about lead-based paint hazards at the property, and a lead-based paint disclosure form with a lead warning statement to be signed by the parties involved. Sellers must also provide purchasers with an opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint evaluation.

Sample documents and instructions in English and Spanish can be accessed on the Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program Web site at www.epa.gov/region07/citizens/lead.htm; additional information is available by calling 1-800-223-0425.

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