May 8, 2003
U.S. SETTLES CASES AGAINST LOS ANGELES LANDLORDS - MORE THAN 4,500 APARTMENTS TO BECOME LEAD SAFE
Companies accused of failing to warn tenants of potentially dangerous lead
WASHINGTON - The Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced settlements in two cases against Los Angeles-based property management companies for failing to warn their tenants that their homes may contain lead-based paint hazards. The agreements come on the heels of published reports that find lead exposure can significantly reduce a child's mental development and delay onset of puberty in young girls.
Westside Rehab Corporation, Alpha Property Management, Inc., and 42 other corporations, partnerships and individuals (collectively referred to as "Westside and Alpha") and SK Management Company, LLC agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties and to contribute to two children's health projects in L.A. The agreements also require the companies to test for and clean up lead-based paint in more than 4,500 apartments nationwide. The settlements are the result of a joint initiative by DOJ, EPA and HUD, as well as the State of California and involve violations of the disclosure requirements of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
"Every child deserves a healthy home," said David Jacobs, director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. "We hope today's action reminds all landlords and home sellers that they have a responsibility to warn tenants and homebuyers that their homes may contain dangerous lead."
"Landlords have a legal obligation to warn tenants about any known lead hazards," said Assistant Attorney General Tom Sansonetti of DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "These settlements should encourage other landlords to inform tenants about the risks of lead paint, so that our nation's children will be protected, but we will continue to pursue those landlords who choose not to follow the law."
John Peter Suarez, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said, "Exposure to lead-based paint can rob a child of a healthy and productive life. This settlement places sellers and landlords on notice that the federal government will vigorously enforce the law and hold them accountable if they place children and families at risk."
The government alleged the companies failed to inform their tenants of potential
lead hazards in over 4,500 apartments in Los Angeles and around the country
(view lists of companies and properties). The companies
agreed to test for lead-based paint in their properties and to clean up any
lead hazards. Westside and Alpha and SK Management Company also agreed to pay
a total of $40,000 in penalties, including $12,000 to the State of California.
In addition, Westside and Alpha will donate $35,000 to the Environmental Research
Center at Martin Luther King, Jr./Charles R. Drew Medical Center and SK Management
Company will contribute $25,000 to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as part of
an effort to reduce the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning.
Westside and Alpha own and/or manage approximately 1,843 units in the Los Angeles area that are subject to the settlement agreement, with the remaining 1,446 units located in Arkansas, Washington, DC, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas. All 1,380 of the units managed by SK Management Company that are subject to the agreement are located in the Los Angeles area.
Today's announcement brings the total number of units in the Los Angeles area that will be made lead-safe as a result of the joint DOJ, HUD and EPA enforcement initiative to over 8,590 units. On October 2, 2001, HUD announced administrative settlement agreements with two other landlords in the Los Angeles area that own and/or manage approximately 5,367 units covered by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. As part of the settlement agreements, G & K Management Co., Inc. and Topa Management Company agreed to pay $41,000 in penalties, test for lead-based paint in their properties and abate any lead-based paint that is found.
Background on Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992:
The Lead Disclosure Rule requires that sellers and landlords of housing constructed prior to 1978 provide each purchaser or tenant with a lead hazard information pamphlet, any information and/or reports concerning lead-based paint hazards in the property and a Lead Warning Statement to be signed by the parties. Additionally, sellers are required to provide purchasers with an opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint evaluation.
HUD, DOJ and EPA have taken enforcement action affecting over 159,757 apartments in 28 cases in 13 cities across the country resulting in $478,350 in civil penalties, $408,750 directed to community-based projects to reduce lead poisoning and commitments by landlords to pay an estimated cost of nearly $22 million to address lead-based paint hazards in the affected units.
Background on Health Effects of Lead-Based Paint:
Lead exposure causes reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poorer hearing and a host of other health problems in young children. Many of these effects are thought to be irreversible. In later years, lead-poisoned children are much more likely to drop out of school, become juvenile delinquents and engage in criminal and other anti-social behavior. In a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that even at low levels, lead exposure in children can significantly impact IQ and even delay puberty in young girls.
At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death. Nearly 500,000 of the nation's 22 million children under the age of six have blood lead levels high enough to impair their ability to think, concentrate and learn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels has been cut in half since the early 1990's, although the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in low-income older housing remains high. In fact, one in six low-income children living in older housing is believed to be lead poisoned. HUD estimates that the number of houses with lead paint has declined from 64 million in 1990 to 38 million in 2000. Eliminating lead-based paint hazards in older low-income housing is essential if childhood lead poisoning is to be eradicated.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing minority homeownership, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws.
|1.||1733 West 58th Street, Los Angeles, California 90006;|
|2.||1040-1042 West 43rd Street, Los Angeles, California 90037;|
|3.||811 Heliotrape Drive, Los Angeles, California 90029;|
|4.||2747 Newell Street, Los Angeles, California, 90039;|
|5.||249 North Juanita Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90004;|
|6.||111 South Avenue 63, Los Angeles, California 90042;|
|7.||2802 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, California 90005;|
|8.||251 South Berendo, Los Angeles, California 90004;|
|9.||1105 15, 21, & 25 N. Cummings, Los Angeles, California 90033;|
|10.||3909 S. Denker, Los Angeles, California 90062;|
|11.||922 South Lake Street, Los Angeles, California 90006;|
|12.||5311 Ruthellen Street, Los Angeles, California 90062;|
|13.||1100 South Berendo Street, Los Angeles, California 90006;|
|14.||1501 Miramar Street, Los Angeles, California 90026;|
|15.||231 Witmer Street, Los Angeles, California 90026; and|
|16.||10311 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90047|
Westside and Alpha Properties outside California
|1.||7601 Curry Street, Houston, Texas 77093;|
|2.||3595 Steele Street, Memphis, Tennessee;|
|3.||9600 West 36th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas;|
|4.||120 Marlowe Court, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601;|
|5.||6607 Prino Road, Hitchcock, Texas;|
|6.||2704 Wade Road, SE, #201, Washington, D.C. 20002-5951;|
|7.||2836 Overton Road, Dallas, Texas 75216-4544;|
|8.||851 Greengate Court, Baltimore, Maryland;|
|9.||3119 Easter Street, Dallas, Texas 75216-4544;|
|10.||1811 East Avenue K, Temple, Texas 76501; and|
|11.||713-D Newtowne Drive, Annapolis, Maryland 21401|
SK Management Company Properties in California
|1.||Azusa Apartments, 805 S. Cerritos, Azusa, CA 91702|
|2.||Dudley Oaks Apartments, 2119 & 2127 S. Oak Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007|
|3.||Market Park Apartments, 601 N. Market Street, Inglewood, CA 90007|
|4.||Mayfield Park Apartments, 345-355 W. 44th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92407|
|5.||Pleasant Village Apartments, 3605 N. Pleasant Avenue, Fresno, CA 91342|
|6.||Springbook Park Apartments, 1060 N. Orange, Riverside, CA 92521|
|7.||Trans Pacific Gardens II, 729 Nord Avenue, Cohasset, CA 95926|
|8.||Yukon Apartments, 13519 Yukon Avenue, Hawthorne, CA 90250|
|9.||Downey Plaza Apartment, 8020 Birchcrest Road, Downey, CA 90240|
|10.||Cerise, 14106 Cerise Avenue, Hawthorne, CA 90250|
Tree Apartment, (formerly known as Lemosko),
1324 S. Alta Vista Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016
|12.||Casa Bien, 12747 Mercer Street, Pacoima, CA 91331|
|13.||Sherman Way - Biltmore, 17910, 17914, 17918, 17920, 17922, 17924, 17926, 17930, 17934, & 17940 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335|
|14.||Redevelopment Investors V:|
|15.||Meadowbrook Park & Tower Apartments, 191 W. 2nd Street, San Bernardino, CA 92408-1036.|