RI attorney general sues 4 landlords over lead hazards

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Four Rhode Island landlords who own properties in which children with lead poisoning live have been sued by the state for alleged noncompliance with state lead poisoning prevention laws, the attorney general’s office said Friday.

Significant lead hazards were found at all four sites in Providence, according to a statement from the office of Attorney General Peter Neronha.

The lawsuits seek court orders to remediate lead hazards, provide alternative housing during remediation, and penalties of up to $5,000 per day the landlords remain in noncompliance.

The landlords failed to remediate lead violations identified by the state Department of Health, even though lead-poisoned children live in the properties, and after receiving two 30-day notices of violation, authorities said.

“This problem persists because of the failure of landlords to do what they are required by law to do: remediate lead hazards in the apartments they rent,” Neronha said in a statement. “Prioritizing profits over the health of children requires a strong response, and that is why we continue to take action against any and all landlords who endanger children in this way.”

Children can suffer “life-long consequences … including learning disabilities, loss of IQ, and reduced attention span,” according to the health department.