The FHA/HUD official site has issued a press release announcing a settlement in a case involving lead hazards in Illinois rental properties. This may seem at first glance to have nothing to do with FHA home loans. But this case is an important reminder of why it is so important to report issues connected with fair housing, hazardous conditions in housing, and related issues–the victims in cases like these are often the only defense against continued violation of federal laws, environmental guidelines, etc.
According to HUDNo. 15-151, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, “announced a settlement with a Rockford, Illinois landlord to resolve a claim he failed to inform tenants, some with young children, that their homes may contain potentially dangerous lead.”
According to the press release, the agreement requires the landlord, “to replace windows and clean up lead‑based paint hazards in 50 rental properties containing a total of 52 units (see attached list of properties). In addition to the $308,000 worth of lead abatement work, Hardesty agreed to pay $5,000 in penalties.”
HUD alleges that the landlord, “violated the Federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (Residential Lead Act) by failing to inform tenants that their homes may contain potentially dangerous levels of lead. Winnebago County health department officials identified at least seven children with elevated blood lead levels in the properties Hardesty leased. Investigations by the health department identified lead‑based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the units.”
Lead poisoning in the home is, “entirely preventable but it requires all of us to recognize that we share a responsibility to protect our vulnerable populations, especially young children who are still developing, said Matt Ammon, Director of HUDs Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, who was quoted in the press release. He adds, Landlords of homes built before 1978 have a legal responsibility to make their tenants aware of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards they know about or that may be in their homes so that tenants can protect their families.
The FHA/HUD official site reminds residents and landlords that the “Lead Disclosure Rule” requires home sellers and landlords of housing, “built before 1978 to disclose to purchasers and potential tenants knowledge of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards using a disclosure form, signed by both parties, attached to the sales contract or lease containing the required lead warning statement, provide any available records or reports, and provide an EPA-approved Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home information pamphlet.”
“Sellers must also provide purchasers with an opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint inspection and/or risk assessment at the purchasers expense.
The “sellers and landlords” line is an important reminder that lead paint issues such as those mentioned here do affect FHA home loan transactions and not just rental properties.
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