WASHINGTON — The Office of the Attorney General is suing city landlord Starkoda Plummer for lead based paint in her apartment building that she refused remediation for two years.
This is the first environmental action against a city landlord for violating the District's Lead Hazard Act that requires all homes built before 1978 to be free of lead which could be dangerous to small children.
Plummer owns and lives in the four-unit building in the 3900 block of R Street SE. No one came to the door when we visited. But the building is in poor condition with chipping paint outside and inside the home.
Trash and mouse traps lined the hallway leading to her apartment. WUSA9 was told the landlord, who only owns this one building, lost her job a couple of years ago and is now living with a relative who is helping her get back on her feet.
However, the OAG reports the problem is a long running issue and she never contacted them about any financial issues that made remediation difficult.
"We understand there may be limited resources but whatever resources are available we want to first and foremost protect the residents and eliminate the hazard," said Assistant Attorney General David Hoffmann."Once paint starts chipping it can get in the air and create dust and it's dangerous to the environment."
The OAG is now trying to force the landlord to clean up her act. She now faces fines of up to $25,000 each day of the violation which dates back to 2017. That would be more than $18 Million.
District residents are encouraged to report suspected violations of environmental law, including suspected lead paint hazards, to DOEE. Information on reporting suspected violations is here.
Residents, property owners, and contractors can find information and resources about lead and the District’s lead laws on DOEE’s website.