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REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS by bty41713

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									             REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS
            TO HUD AND EPA FOR DISCLOSURE ENFORCEMENT

DESCRIPTION OF THE STRATEGY
Federal law requires owners of most pre-1978 rental properties to disclose information about lead hazards to
tenants at the time of lease or lease renewal. The law provides significant penalties for violations and
authorizes enforcement by HUD, EPA, and DOJ. Using “results-oriented” enforcement, federal agencies
have investigated cases referred by local agencies and others and generated $14,000,000 in lead safety
investments by landlords in 150,000 housing units. Health departments and community-based organizations
can facilitate enforcement locally by identifying and reporting owners of poorly maintained buildings who fail
to comply with disclosure requirements to EPA, HUD, or US attorneys. Health departments can strengthen
federal enforcement by providing information on documented poisonings and lead hazards in non-compliant
properties.

BENEFITS
Immediate/Direct Results: Landlords who have violated the federal lead hazard disclosure law are
encouraged to evaluate, control, and prevent lead hazards in multiple units in exchange for reduced fines.
Public Health Benefits: Tenants living in units where hazards have been controlled or prevented are less
likely to be exposed to lead hazards. Future tenants will receive information they need to make informed
housing choices and protect their families from lead hazards. Owners forced to follow the disclosure law will
be motivated to address lead hazards to avoid having to disclose them.
Other Indirect/Collateral Benefits: This is a good way to target problem landlords, particularly owners of
properties responsible for repeat poisonings. If federal agencies pursue results-oriented enforcement,
working with federal authorities in bringing enforcement actions against property owners may persuade
landlords to address lead hazards in all units they own or manage as well as yield funding for education,
outreach, screening, and other prevention activities. Through Community Health Improvement Projects
(CHIPs) and Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), a few large and well-publicized enforcement cases
will also get the attention of other property owners and hopefully motivate them to comply with the
disclosure law and address lead hazards in their properties.

SCOPE OF POTENTIAL IMPACT
Statewide                          Regional (e.g. multi-county)
City- or County-Wide               Neighborhood/Community

PRIMARY ACTORS                                       KEY PARTNERS
Health Department                                    Code or Building Inspection Agency
Community-based Organizations                        Property Taxation Agency
                                                     Attorney General
                                                     HUD, DOJ, and/or EPA
                                                     Tenants

CRITICAL ELEMENTS
Staff requirements: Number of FTEs can vary greatly, depending on the level of involvement of the agency
reporting violations. Simply reporting violations identified in the course of regular activities entails very little
extra work. Systematically providing information on EBLs, the presence of lead hazards, code violations, and
documentation of disclosure violations; profiling owners; intervening in the enforcement action; and
influencing settlements to ensure they include projects needed by the affected community may require 1-2
FTEs per year over two or more years.

Other resource requirements: N/A



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                         1
          Building Blocks for Primary Prevention: Protecting Children from Lead-Based Paint Hazards
                                      Using Code Enforcement and Other Systems
 REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS TO HUD AND EPA FOR DISCLOSURE ENFORCEMENT


Institutional capacity required: Address-specific information about lead hazards is necessary. Access to
EBL data, tax assessor’s records, and data on housing code and other violations is helpful. Local or state lead
laws are not required for the implementation of this strategy.

Cost considerations: This is a very cost-effective strategy—a relatively small investment of time and
resources can reap tens of thousands of dollars in property owner investments in lead safety and other
prevention projects. There is no evidence that results-oriented enforcement of the disclosure law has
adversely affected housing affordability.

Timing issues: Typically, it can take more than one year for federal agencies to complete enforcement
action, from the investigation through the settlement stage; some cases may take even longer. It can take
another two or more years for defendants to complete the work agreed to in the settlements.

Feasibility of Implementation: Very high. This is an easy strategy for local and state entities to implement,
because federal agencies conduct the investigation and enforcement work once cases are referred.

POTENTIAL OBSTACLES/BARRIERS
Some tenants may be reluctant to report non-compliance or provide documentation for fear of landlord
retaliation. It is important to communicate these fears when reporting cases for enforcement to federal
agencies so that steps can be taken to protect tenants and safeguard their rights.

Also, follow-up monitoring is needed to ensure that landlords implement settlement agreements properly.
Federal agencies have the ability to collect penalties if agreements are not honored.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    1. Marcheta Gillam
       Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati
       513-241-9400
       mgillam@lascinti.org

    2. Lorisa Seibel
       Durham Affordable Housing Coalition
       919-683-1185, ext. 25
       lorisa@dahc.org

    3. Beth McKee-Huger
       Greensboro Housing Coalition
       336-691-9046
       rachelltv@aol.com

    4. Tom Neltner
       Improving Kids’ Environment
       317-283-6111
       neltner@ikecoalition.org

    5. Linda Kite
       Healthy Homes Collaborative
       213-386-4901, ext. 107
       lkite@psr.org




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                    2
          Building Blocks for Primary Prevention: Protecting Children from Lead-Based Paint Hazards
                                      Using Code Enforcement and Other Systems
 REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS TO HUD AND EPA FOR DISCLOSURE ENFORCEMENT
    6. Joe Diorio
       Mahoning County District Board of Health
       330-270-2855, ext. 142
       jdiorio@mahoning-health.org

    7. New Jersey Citizen Action
       732-246-4772

    8. Ed Norman
       North Carolina Children’s Environmental Health Branch
       919-715-3293
       Ed.Norman@ncmail.net

    9. Strategies for Making the Most of the Federal Lead Hazard Disclosure Law
           www.afhh.org/res/res_pubs/disclosure_strategies_paper.pdf
    10. Guide to Identifying and Documenting Disclosure Law Violations
           www.afhh.org/res/res_pubs/disclosure_documenting_violations_guide.pdf
    11. Innovative SEPs and CHIPs for Inclusion in Lead Hazard Disclosure Settlements
           www.afhh.org/res/res_pubs/disclosure_Innovative_SEPs_and_CHIPs.pdf

                        ILLUSTRATION #1 OF STRATEGY IN PRACTICE
CDPH, HUD, DOJ, EPA Region 5, and the Illinois Department of Public Health entered into discussions
regarding disclosure enforcement. CDPH identified owners and management companies of properties with
large numbers of EBL children and frequent and repeat violations of Chicago’s municipal code requirement
that all properties be maintained in a lead-safe manner. HUD and EPA investigated whether disclosure had
occurred in these properties. Where disclosure violations were found, CDPH performed additional
inspections, which added the threat of municipal actions to the negotiations over the federal violations.
These activities resulted in four settlements. CDPH has begun the process again with new property
management companies/owners in violation of local laws.

Jurisdiction or Target Area: Chicago

Primary Actor: Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Secondary Actor(s): US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Housing and Urban
Development, US Department of Justice

Staffing utilized: Approximately 0.75 FTEs per year over 2 years, including an epidemiologist, clerks, the
director of the program, attorneys, and inspectors.

Other resources utilized: Tax assessor’s database.

Factors essential to implementation: The key components are a clean database of EBLs and local law
violations, a good working relationship with federal enforcement officials, and a strong local lead law.

Limitations/challenges/problems encountered: HUD typically takes the lead in monitoring
implementation of the agreements, but does not have the resources to monitor all cases nationally; CDPH is
involved but does not have dedicated funding for this activity.

Magnitude of Impact/Potential Impact: The four companies agreed to conduct lead hazard control in a
total of 8,642 units at an estimated cost of $6 million. To date, 477 units have been made lead safe and more



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                      3
          Building Blocks for Primary Prevention: Protecting Children from Lead-Based Paint Hazards
                                      Using Code Enforcement and Other Systems
 REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS TO HUD AND EPA FOR DISCLOSURE ENFORCEMENT
than $750,000 has been spent on testing and abatement. In addition, the settlements included $77,000 for
blood lead screening and $100,000 for abatement of 10 housing units owned by low-income property owners.

Potential for replication: Low. Unless there is a strong local law and resources to proactively inspect
properties, it would be difficult for health departments to fully replicate the Chicago experience—but many
elements are worth replicating.

Contacts for Specific Information
Anne Evens                                 Tara Jordan
Director, CLPPP                            National Center for Healthy Housing
312-746-7820                               410-992-0712
Evens_Anne@cdph.org                        tara.jordan@centerforhealthyhousing.org

References for additional information
N/A

                        ILLUSTRATION #2 OF STRATEGY IN PRACTICE
Through health department data, the tax assessor’s database, and a number of other data sources, Brown
University students working for CLAP were able to determine that of 887 properties owned by 204 owners
had poisoned 2,644 children. CLAP profiled these owners, documented disclosure violations in their
properties, and provided this information to the Attorney General’s office, which in turn prioritized the cases
and forwarded them to EPA Region 1. CLAP continues to document and report disclosure violations as
tenants provide tips.

Jurisdiction or Target Area: Rhode Island

Primary Actor: Childhood Lead Action Project (CLAP)

Secondary Actor(s): EPA Region 1

Staffing utilized: 1 to 1.5 FTEs per year, over four years.

Other resources utilized: Brown University students did much of the initial research. Through a contract
between Brown University and the Rhode Island Department of Health, the students had access to health
department EBL data. The information they compiled was sent directly to the federal agencies.

Factors essential to implementation: Important components are a good working relationship with the
AG’s Office, as well as networking and building relationships with various agencies to gain access to records.

Limitations/challenges/problems encountered: EPA Region 1 is now poised to act on the cases referred
by CLAP—two years after CLAP supplied the documentation.

Magnitude of Impact/Potential Impact: So far, one case has been prosecuted, resulting in abatement of
12 units plus the contribution of $3,000 for community-based organizations working on lead poisoning
prevention. In addition, the owner was fined $16,000 and was required to make five presentations about
lead-based paint hazards: three to tenants and two to landlords.

Potential for Replication: Very high. Any state or local health departments could easily replicate CLAP’s
strategy since they have ready access to EBL data.




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                       4
         Building Blocks for Primary Prevention: Protecting Children from Lead-Based Paint Hazards
                                     Using Code Enforcement and Other Systems
REPORT PROBLEM RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS TO HUD AND EPA FOR DISCLOSURE ENFORCEMENT
Contact for Specific Information
Liz Colon
Organizing Director
401-785-1310
organizingdirector@leadsafekids.org

References for additional information
N/A




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                           5

								
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