Sales of newly built, single-family homes inched up 0.2 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units, the highest level in six years, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales numbers for August were revised down from 504,000 to 466,000. More.
EPA Announces Second Round of Enforcement for Lead Paint Rule Violations
The EPA announced 16 enforcement actions on Nov. 14 for violations of the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) in the second round of publicized enforcement since the rule took effect in 2010.
Two one-year pilot programs were introduced to consider a firm’s ability to pay penalties and to move toward a quick settlement.
The majority of the 13 cases that were settled between the EPA and the firms used the two pilot programs to fine the firms a total of $53,792 in civil penalties.
In the Lead-based Paint Expedited Settlement Agreement (ESA) Pilot Program, significantly reduced penalties ranging from $0 to $5,000 are offered to firms to facilitate the quick settlement of easily determined, minor violations, such as incomplete recordkeeping where no occupant is either pregnant or under 18. Reduced penalties offered under the ESA pilot are not negotiable and firms have 30 days to respond. Firms retain the right to contact EPA regarding the enforcement process.
Under the Pilot RRP Penalty Program for Micro-Businesses, significantly reduced penalties (not more than $4,000) are offered to firms who have annual sales or gross pre-tax revenue of $300,000 or less. The micro-business program is not restricted to violations such as recordkeeping or by the age of the occupant.
In the three remaining administrative complaints that EPA filed, the agency is still seeking civil penalties up to the full statutory limit of $37,500 per violation, which could result in fines worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Please let NAHB know if you or a colleague has a worksite that has been visited by the EPA in relation to the lead paint rule, as this information can help us keep others informed and develop further compliance resources.
Profile of the Violations The majority of these 16 enforcement actions took place in EPA Region 1 (Boston), EPA Region 2 (Edison, N.J.), and EPA Region 5 (Chicago). Of these 16 firms, eight were contractors, residential remodelers or window/door replacers, four were painting companies, two were property managers and one was a training provider for lead-safe certification. In at least five of the cases, children lived in the home – which raises the EPA fine. In several of the cases, EPA enforced the lead paint rule because the firm failed to obtain lead-safe certification before beginning the renovations. In a few other cases, the violations were the result of not providing EPA's “Renovate Right” pamphlet to the home’s occupants.
To read a full description of the violations and penalties in all 16 cases, visit the EPA.
As enforcement actions move forward around the country, use the updated sample checklist that NAHB has developed to help keep your business in compliance with the LRRP. NAHB has also compiled a significant amount of information and resources to aid our members in dealing with the lead paint rule at nahb.org/leadpaint.