Carabetta Pays Fine for Not Warning Tenants about Lead Paint
A property management company based in Meriden, Conn., has agreed to pay a $276,000 penalty for violating federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements. The regulations require managers to provide tenants with information to prevent the risk of exposure to lead hazards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged that Carabetta Management Company violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule when it failed to disclose information about lead paint to at least 20 tenants who rented their multi-unit residential properties known as Oakland Gardens and Parkside Gardens between 2001 and 2003. Specifically, Carabetta failed to:
- provide records or reports regarding lead hazards,
make sure that the lease included a Lead Warning Statement and a statement disclosing the known or unknown presence of lead-based paint, and
provide a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to its lessees.
In addition to this settlement with Carabetta, EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office are concluding a criminal action against an employee of Carabetta for violations of the Disclosure Rule. On Dec. 11, 2009, Sandra Sattler, supervisor of leasing agents for Carabetta, pled guilty to one count of knowingly and willfully failing to provide Lead Disclosure information in violation of the Toxics Substances Control Act. Sentencing is scheduled for March 4, 2010, in New Haven, Conn.
The purpose of the Disclosure Rule is to give tenants adequate information about the risks associated with lead paint so that they can make informed decisions before signing a lease agreement.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 provide the following information to tenants and buyers: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home; a lead warning statement; statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and copies of all available records or reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This information must be provided to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements. Property owners, property managers, and real estate agents equally share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must retain copies of records regarding lead disclosures for three years.