HUD No. 04-063
July 1, 2004
U.S. SETTLES CASES AGAINST MINNESOTA LANDLORDS - NEARLY 4,500 APARTMENTS IN FOUR STATES TO BECOME LEAD FREE
Agreements signal stepped up enforcement of Lead Disclosure Rule
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced settlements against one of the largest Midwest property management companies and a Minnesota landlord for failing to warn their tenants that their homes may contain lead-based paint hazards. Combined, the settlements will result in the complete removal of all lead-based paint in nearly 4,500 apartments in four states in the upper Midwest-Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Indiana.
Dominium Management Services, Inc. owns and manages 22 residential properties including 4,474 units subject to this consent decree, with 3,838 in Minnesota alone. Dominium is also among the largest HUD-assisted property management companies in the U.S. The agreement announced today includes nearly 500 units receiving some form of federal assistance. The company has agreed to remove all lead-based paint in its units at a cost of nearly $1 million and pay a $10,000 civil money penalty. In addition, Dominium will spend $70,000 on lead abatement work to be performed by the Sustainable Resources Center, a Minneapolis-based children's health project.
Robert Zeman owns 19 residential properties containing approximately 22 units in Minnesota and has a long history of housing code violations. Nine children living in Zeman-owned properties were lead-poisoned. The government's settlement requires Zeman to abate all lead-based paint in his properties at an estimated cost of $200,000 and pay a $2,000 penalty. In addition, HUD is actively negotiating settlements with another six landlords in Minneapolis impacting an additional 2,000 units.
"These settlements send a strong signal to all landlords, management companies, and home sellers that they have a legal obligation to inform tenants and buyers about potentially dangerous lead in their properties," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "Families have a right to know if their homes can possibly harm their children."
Sue Gunderson, Executive Director of the Sustainable Resource Center, said, "I want to thank HUD, EPA and the U.S. Attorney's office for their strong leadership. The big winners in this legal action are the children of Minnesota."
According to Bharat Mathur, EPA Acting Administrator in Region 5, "By bringing these enforcement actions, we restate that protecting our children's health from lead-based paint exposure is one of our highest priorities. To this end we will vigorously pursue compliance with this rule."
Background on Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992:
The allegations involve violations of the disclosure requirements of the 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 166,626 apartments in 34 cases across the country resulting in $561,302 in civil penalties, $421,750 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, unassisted 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 homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and 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. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.
Crossroads at Penn Apartments (Century Court Penn), 7600-7720 Penn Ave. S,
Homestead Apartments, 140 Homestead Rd., Mankato
Homestead Village Apartments, 851-958 Homestead Village Lane, Rochester
Gateway Pointe on 74th Apartments, 7431-7521 Lyndale Ave. S., Richfield
Gateway Pointe on 63rd Apartments, 6301-6335 Lyndale Ave. S., Richfield
Huntington Pointe Apartments, 7451-7479 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park
Park Edge Apartments, 2005-2025 Ide St. and 2024 Clarence St., Maplewood
City Limits, 127 E. 59th St., Minneapolis
Colony Apartments, 1621 Colony Court, North Mankato
Fairview Apartments, 720 Ronne St., St. Peter
Fountains in the Park, 5800 73rd Ave., Brooklyn Park
Huntington Place, 5805 73rd Ave. N., Brooklyn Park
Oakdale Village, 1213 Gentry Ave. N., Oakdale
Park Haven, 6917 76th Ave., Brooklyn Park
Provinces, 153 E. Canada Rd., Little Canada
Summerchase, 2900 Northway Dr., Brooklyn Center
Trail Ridge, 875 Southeast 21st Ave., Rochester
Wedgewood, 1501-1503 79th St. E., Bloomington
Brooklane Apartments, 4363, 4475 and 4525 W. Dean Rd.,
8250 and 8330 North 46th St., Brown Deer
Elmwood Estates, 703 N.Elmwood Ave., Sioux Falls
Meadowland Apartments, 3601 S. Marion Rd., Sioux Falls
Parkview Townhomes, 3200-3393 Country Brook St., Columbus
401 Lowry Ave. N., Minneapolis
426 23rd Ave. N., Minneapolis
505 Knox Ave. N., Minneapolis
526 Logan Ave. N., Minneapolis
532 Logan Ave. N., Minneapolis
931 Croydon Ave., Minneapolis
1315 16th Ave. N., Minneapolis,
1403 Dupont Ave. N., Minneapolis
1411 Morgan Ave. N., Minneapolis
1515 Oliver Ave. N., Minneapolis
1527 Queen Ave. N., Minneapolis
2512 Humboldt Ave. N., Minneapolis
2707 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis
2816 James Ave. N., Minneapolis
2822 James Ave. N., Minneapolis
2911 3rd St. N., Minneapolis
2932 Bryant Ave. N., Minneapolis
3002 Vincent Ave. N., Minneapolis
3541 10th Ave. S., Minneapolis