A Philadelphia woman recently filed a lawsuit against the owner, property manager, and former owner of the residential property where she used to live. She claims they were negligent in maintaining the property and that they neglected to provide the Philadelphia Department of Public health with a lead-safe or lead-free certificate for the property at any time of her tenancy.
The woman’s infant child later underwent a blood test that showed he had lead in his bloodstream. Lead is a known toxin to human health and young children are more vulnerable to its effects. The plaintiff seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages.
Property Owners Fail to Provide Required Lead-Free Certificate
According to her complaint, the woman leased the property in October 2015. She was pregnant at the time, and also had a young seven-year-old daughter. The owners and managers were aware of her pregnancy and that a child under the age of six would soon live at the property.
The baby was born on December 2, 2015, and continued to live at the property, which was constructed before 1978. Neither the owners nor the managers provided the plaintiff with a lead-safe or lead-free certificate at the lease signing, or at any subsequent time during her tenancy, even though the Philadelphia Lead Ordinance requires this.
The property changed hands while the plaintiff was still living there, but the new owners also neglected to provide the lead-free certificate. The young child later underwent a blood test, which showed lead in his bloodstream.
EPA Notes Lead Dangerous for Children Under the Age of Six
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that lead can affect almost every organ in the body and that children under the age of six are most susceptible to these effects. Even low levels in young children can result in slowed growth, hearing problems, anemia, behavior and learning problems, and lowered IQ or hyperactivity.
Pregnant women are also at risk when exposed to lead. It can accumulate in the body over time, and may then be released from bones as maternal calcium and used during fetal development, particularly if the mom is low in calcium. Results can include premature birth and reduced growth of the fetus.
Plaintiffs Also Complain of Maintenance Problems
In addition to the lead issue, the plaintiffs also claim that the owners and property managers were negligent in maintaining the home. In early 2016, they noted the lights on the second floor were malfunctioning, and though an electrician came out and stated the rooms needed to be rewired, the repair was never completed during the plaintiff’s stay.
In November, she asked for additional repairs, including the same electrical problem, as well as repairs on a fallen cabinet, the front doorknob and locks, and a water leak in the kitchen.
Over a period of five months, the repairs were still not made, allowing the kitchen leak to get so bad that the seam above the back door frame came apart and part of the kitchen ceiling collapsed. The plaintiff followed up numerous times and even submitted a repair request in writing, but the repairs were never made.
In September 2017, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections cited the owners for eight violations at the property, including a water-damaged ceiling and back wall, among others. The plaintiff eventually moved out of the property in November 2017. The management never returned her security deposit.