SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with NRT West Inc. dba Coldwell Banker to resolve claims of ten violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act at seven residential properties in and around the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Vallejo, California. Acting as the agent for the seller in a real estate transaction, NRT West failed to ensure that the sellers properly disclosed information related to lead-based paint in its sales contracts and will pay a penalty of $35,433.
“Reducing exposure to lead is critical to protecting public health in our communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The legal requirement for lead-based paint disclosure is a key element that keeps people informed of hazards in their homes. Companies that fail to comply with disclosure rules will face fines.”
From August 2017 through October 11, 2018, when NRT West’s clients entered into these seven contracts, the company failed to ensure that its clients complied with the Toxic Substances Control Act’s Disclosure Rule by not meeting the following requirements:
(1) providing the purchaser with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;
(2) including a Lead Warning Statement in the contract;
(3) disclosing in the contract the presence of lead-based paint hazards, or alternatively indicating no knowledge of such hazards;
(4) including in the contract a statement that the seller is aware of and responsible for complying with the lead-based paint disclosure rule (Section 1018);
and (5) including in the contract the signatures of the sellers and purchasers certifying the accuracy of their statements, to the best of their knowledge, along with the dates of signature.
NRT West has certified that it is now in compliance with the lead-based paint hazard requirements to ensure prospective buyers are provided with disclosure information.
NRT West was cited under the Toxic Substances Control Act’s lead-based paint Disclosure Rule, which applies to housing built before the residential use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. The Disclosure Rule generally requires sellers and lessors of pre-1978 homes to provide homebuyers and tenants with a federal brochure about lead-based paint, any information known about lead-based paint in the home, and a warning statement about the potential dangers of lead-based paint. Buyers also have the option to inspect pre-1978 homes before becoming obligated to make a purchase. With this knowledge, potential homebuyers and tenants can make informed decisions about whether to buy or rent a particular residence.
High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, including reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavioral difficulties. Young children are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. Adults with high blood levels of lead can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain.
For more information on the Disclosure Rule visit EPA’s Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards webpage.
To report a lead-based paint violation visit EPA’s Pacific Southwest Lead-Based Paint Tips & Complaints webpage.
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