Rhode Island sues 5 landlords over alleged lead hazards

RI Attorney General Peter Neronha. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has sued five more landlords who rent properties in which children with lead poisoning live, the state attorney general said Monday.

The three properties in Providence, one in Central Falls, and one in Newport all contain “significant lead hazards” and the landlords have failed to comply with state lead poisoning prevention laws, Attorney General Peter Neronha said in a statement.

The attorney general has filed 17 lawsuits since last fall against landlords who have failed to fully address alleged lead violations on their properties.

The lawsuits seek court orders to remediate lead hazards, provide tenants adequate alternative housing during remediation, and penalties of up to $5,000 per day.

“The allegations against the defendants here, and against those in other cases we have brought, are that a landlord was notified multiple times that there is a lead hazard on their property, that a child living there was lead poisoned, and that they did nothing about it,” Neronha said. “These circumstances are unacceptable, the health consequences are serious, and strong action by this office is warranted.”

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