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AG Neronha suing Providence landlords over lead hazards in homes of lead-poisoned children

Attorney General files lead enforcement lawsuits against four Providence landlords

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that his office has filed lawsuits against four separate Providence landlords for noncompliance with state lead poisoning prevention laws. All of the lawsuits involve properties where significant lead hazards were found in a lead-poisoned child’s home.

In the lawsuits, filed in Providence County Superior Court, the Attorney General is seeking a court order to halt further harmful conduct, remediate lead hazards, provide adequate alternative housing during remediation, and appoint a receiver if the defendants are unwilling to correct the lead violations. The Attorney General also seeks significant monetary penalties of up to $5000 per day that the conduct continues.

As alleged in the complaints, landlords Davian Sanchez; Francis Roldan; Palma Property Manager Corp. owners Persio Quiñonez and Consuelo Nunez; and Tellez Investment, Inc. owner Carlos Tellez, have – to date – failed to remediate lead violations identified by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), even though lead-poisoned children reside in the properties.

Under state law, following a property inspection by RIDOH, landlords are given multiple opportunities to correct lead hazard violations before the Attorney General may file an enforcement action.

“Hundreds of children in Rhode Island are lead poisoned every year, endangering their short- and long-term health and development. 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.  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,” said Attorney General Neronha.

Wesleyan Avenue

As alleged in the complaint, Davian Sanchez owns a three-unit apartment building on Wesleyan Avenue in Providence. Following the lead poisoning of a child living in one of the apartment units, a RIDOH inspection revealed lead hazards in multiple locations inside and outside of the building. The defendant has failed to remediate the hazards following two 30-day notices of violation issued by RIDOH.

Linwood Avenue

As alleged in the complaint, Francis Roldan owns a two-unit multi-family home on Linwood Avenue in Providence. Following the lead poisoning of a child living in one of the apartment units, a RIDOH inspection revealed lead hazards in multiple locations inside and outside of the home. The defendant has failed to remediate the hazards following two 30-day notices of violation issued by RIDOH.

Sumter Street

As alleged in the complaint, Palma Property Manager Corp., Persio Quiñonez, and Consuelo Nunez, owns a six-unit commercial apartment building in Providence. Following the lead poisoning of a child living in one of the apartment units, a RIDOH inspection revealed lead hazards in multiple locations inside and outside of the building. The defendants have failed to remediate the hazards following two 30-day notices of violation issued by RIDOH.

Plainfield Street

As alleged in the complaint, Tellez Investment, Inc., Carlos Tellez, owns a five-unit multi-family home in Providence. Following the lead poisoning of a child, a RIDOH inspection revealed lead hazards in multiple locations inside of the child’s home. The defendant has failed to remediate the hazards following two 30-day notices of violation issued by RIDOH.

Additional Lead Enforcement Action

AG & RIDOH Guidance for Local Code Enforcement on Lead Hazard Violations

Special Assistant Attorney General Keith Hoffmann is representing the Office of the Attorney General in these cases.

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