Vermont landlord to pay for violations of state lead law

By Nick Rees | Nov 11, 2009

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - A Vermont landlord will pay the State $10,000 in civil penalties as part of a settlement for filing a false lead compliance document for a Lyndonville property.

Landlord Dennis Laferriere has also agreed to bring the property into compliance with the state's lead law by November 30.

"We know that most Vermont landlords want to follow the law and do what it requires," state Attorney General William Sorrell said.

"It is encouraging to see that awareness of the Vermont lead law appears to be on the rise and the filing of compliance statements state-wide is up. False filing cases like this should remind landlords that the State takes lead law compliance seriously."

The Vermont lead law requires rental property owners to perform essential maintenance practices in all rental housing built prior to 1978. The owners must then annually submit a compliance statement to the Department of Health, to the owner's insurance carrier, and to all tenants of the property certifying that the maintenance practices have been complete.

Laferriere is alleged to have filed compliance paperwork for the property with the Department of Health in June 2008. Inspections performed by the Department of Health then revealed that the maintenance practices were not completed properly at the property and that the filing's representations were not accurate.

The State also alleged that Laferriere, who failed to file compliance paperwork in 2009, was currently in violation of the lead law. The state claimed that the failure to comply with the lead law placed him in violation of his previous agreement from 2008 with the Department of Health.

"Unfortunately, this case is the fifth brought by my Office this year that concerns the filing of false lead law compliance documents," Sorrell said.

"It is our hope that landlords will be truthful and accurate on all lead law filings with the State and that there will be fewer cases like this in the future."

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