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Landlord slapped with lead-paint penalties

RUTLAND - Rutland landlord James Theodore, doing business as JTT Properties, will pay Vermont $14,000 in civil penalties for the filing of false lead paint compliance documents for five Rutland properties and will spend at least $7,500 in lead hazard reduction improvements at the properties he owns as a part of a settlement with the Office of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell.

Theodore has also agreed to enroll the five Rutland properties into the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program.

"We appreciate that Mr. Theodore has taken steps to bring his properties into compliance with the law," said Attorney General Sorrell. "But there is an expectation that Vermont's landlords will be truthful and accurate when they file lead paint compliance documents with the State. His failure to do so was a serious violation of that trust."

Vermont's lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all rental housing built before 1978. A Compliance Statement certifying completion of EMPs must be submitted annually to the Department of Health, to the owner's insurance carrier, and to all tenants of the property.

The state alleged that Theodore filed five EMP compliance statements with the Department of Health which falsely represented the EMPs as having been properly completed.

"Awareness of the Vermont lead law appears to be on the rise and the filing of compliance statements state-wide is up," said Attorney General Sorrell. "Cases like this one should remind Vermont landlords that the accuracy of those filings is of utmost importance. Those who file false statements run the risk of having an enforcement action brought against them."

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program provides financial and technical assistance to eligible landlords and homeowners to reduce the risk of lead poisoning caused by lead based paint. Any property build before 1978 is presumed to have lead based paint.

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