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  1. #1

    Post Lead Paint in Rental Housing

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: VT

    My child has rescently been tested and yielded a result of 5 at our doctors office. Any lead level is not okay. The landlord has been disrespectful to us and told us in writing upon moving in that there was no lead paint that he was aware because he purchased it and it was not disclosed. Also he stated he painted over everything 3 or 4 times. He did not annualy give us an EMP (Lead paint disclosure certificate from the EPA). His house is much older than 1977. Is this legally possible to break the lease ? We got an EPA recognized test kit for the house, tested and the tests were positive. We just want to move out , break the lease and get our rent deposit back and go seperate ways to get our son out of the situation and into a new home. How do we legally break the lease?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lead Paint in Rental Housing

    Per statute,
    Quote Quoting Vermont Statutes, Title 18, 1759. Essential maintenance practices
    (a) Essential maintenance practices (EMP) in rental target housing and child care facilities shall be performed only by a person who has successfully completed an EMP training program approved by the commissioner or a person who works under the direct, on-site supervision of a person who has successfully completed such training. That person shall comply with section 1760 of this title and shall take all reasonable precautions to avoid creating lead hazards during any renovations, remodeling, maintenance, or repair project that disturbs more than one square foot of lead-based paint, pursuant to guidelines issued by the department. The following essential maintenance practices shall be performed in all rental target housing and child care facilities, unless a lead inspector or a lead risk assessor has certified that the property is lead-free:
    (1) Install window well inserts in all windows or protect window wells by another method approved by the department.

    (2) At least once a year, with the consent of the tenant, and at each change of tenant, perform visual on-site inspection of all interior and exterior painted surfaces and components at the property to identify deteriorated paint.

    (3) Promptly and safely remove or stabilize lead-based paint if more than one square foot of deteriorated lead-based paint is found on any interior or exterior surface located within any area of the dwelling to which access by tenants is not restricted. An owner shall assure that all surfaces are free of deteriorated lead-based paint within 30 days after deteriorated lead-based paint has been visually identified or within 30 days after receipt of a written or oral report of deteriorated lead-based paint from any person including the department, a tenant, or an owner of a child care facility. Because exterior paint repairs cannot be completed in cold weather, any exterior repair work identified after November 1 shall be completed no later than the following May 31 provided that access to surfaces and components with lead hazards and areas directly below the deteriorated surfaces is clearly restricted.

    (4) If more than one square foot of deteriorated paint is found on any exterior wall surface or fixture not covered by subdivision (3) of this subsection, the owner shall:
    (A) promptly and safely repair and stabilize the paint and restore the surface; or

    (B) prohibit access to the area, surface, or fixture to assure that children will not come into contact with the deteriorated lead-based paint.
    (5) For any outdoor area, annually remove all visible paint chips from the ground on the property.

    (6) At least once a year, using methods recommended by the department, thoroughly clean all interior horizontal surfaces, except ceilings, in common areas accessible to tenants.

    (7) At each change of tenant, thoroughly clean all interior horizontal surfaces of the dwelling, except ceilings, using methods recommended by the department.

    (8) Post, in a prominent place in buildings containing rental target housing units or a child care facility, a notice to occupants emphasizing the importance of promptly reporting deteriorated paint to the owner or to the owner's agent. The notice shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the owner or the owner's agent.
    (b) The owner of rental target housing shall perform all the following:
    (1) File with the department by the due date an EMP compliance statement certifying that the essential maintenance practices have been performed, including all the following:
    (A) The addresses of the dwellings in which EMP were performed.

    (B) The dates of completion.

    (C) The name of the person who performed the EMP.

    (D) A certification of compliance with subdivision (4) of this subsection.

    (E) A certification that subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection have been or will be complied with within ten days.
    (2) File the statement required in subdivision (1) of this subsection with the owners' liability insurance carrier and the department.

    (3) Provide a copy of the statement to all tenants with written materials regarding lead hazards approved by the department.

    (4) Prior to entering into a lease agreement, provide approved tenants with written materials regarding lead hazards approved by the department, along with a copy of the owner's most recent EMP compliance statement. The written materials approved by the department pursuant to this subdivision shall include information indicating that lead is highly toxic to humans, particularly young children, and may even cause permanent neurological damage.
    (c) The owner of the premises of a child care facility shall perform all of the following:
    (1) File with the department by the due date an EMP compliance statement certifying that the essential maintenance practices have been performed, including all the following:
    (A) The address of the child care facility.

    (B) The date of completion of the EMP.

    (C) The name of the person who performed the EMP.

    (D) A certification that subdivision (2) of this subsection has been or will be complied with within ten days.
    (2) File the statement required in subdivision (1) of this subsection with the owner's liability insurance carrier; the department for children and families; and with the tenant of the facility, if any.
    (d) An owner who desires an extension of time for filing the EMP compliance statement shall file a written request for an extension from the department no later than ten days before the due date. The department may grant or deny an extension.
    It appears that you can try to assert noncompliance as a violation of the warranty of habitability, but that's not a guarantee that you'll prevail in an action by your landlord if you try to walk away from your lease. Statutorily, a landlord can be fined for noncompliance.

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