Vt. landlord settles lead paint lawsuit

Drew Smith Sep. 25, 2008, 11:35am

William Sorrell (D)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) -- Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has settled a Consumer Fraud Act claim against a landlord accused of violating state lead laws.

Jeffrey Jacobs, a Montpelier property owner, was charged with failure to maintain twelve residential rental properties in accordance with Vermont's lead laws.

As a part of the settlement, Jacobs has agreed to complete essential maintenance practices on his properties and pay a $12,000 civil penalty.

"Tenants, especially those with young children, need to know their risks and the obligations of their landlords," Sorrell said in a statement.

Sorrell said office has made efforts to educate landlords, tenants and property management companies of the lead laws by providing free training, posting information on the office Web site and publicizing case settlements.

"Our goal is for greater compliance with fewer enforcement actions," Sorrell said. "But we have a long way to go."

Vermont law requires essential maintenance practices to be performed on all pre-1978 rental properties and a compliance statement must be submitted to the Department of Health.

Lead-based paint in housing is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning, Sorrell's office said.

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