Local

J.D. Home Rentals facing rental code violations

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

One of the Valley's largest property management companies, which has faced legal troubles in the past, is now being forced to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and repairs. Federal regulators say J.D. Home Rentals failed to tell tenants about lead paint hazards.

J.D. Home Rentals has faced hundreds of allegations involving mis-management. The United States Environmental Protection Agency started this particular investigation two years ago. It alleges finding 31 violations at 12 different properties, half of which were once occupied by children.

Miguel Hernandez moved into this Southwest Fresno home less than six months ago. He has three children, and claims he had no idea lead-based paint was once used here.

"I was told the house was recently remodeled, and ready to live in."

But, court documents filed by the EPA reveal between 2005 and 2009, tenants living in this property, and eleven others in Fresno and Clovis, were never told about possible lead hazards.

"Lead is considered a neuro-toxin. It has a particularly harmful impact on the developing brain and so our concern is that if children are exposed to elevated levels, their intellectual development could be impaired."

Lead-based paint was banned in 1978. Federal law requires landlords, who manage properties built before then, need to disclose that information.

Christina Skaf Hathaway, an attorney with Central California Legal Services, says failing to do so is common practice in low-income areas.

Christina Skaf Hathaway said, "Even in the event that they do notify the tenants they fail to take steps to secure the lead paint."

Until now, J.D. Home Rentals has agreed to pay a fine of 75-hundred dollars, as well as spend more than 67-thousand dollars on lead tests and window replacements. Much of that work has already begun.

Hernandez says someone stopped by his home Tuesday to take samples. That was also the case at, at least two additional properties on the list.

J.D. Home Rentals must complete the repair work within a year.

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