Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office sues major rental company

The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office shares these photos taken by Pioneer properties current and former tenants.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A major Rhode Island rental company is being sued by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office for violating several laws and regulations, according to authorities.

Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday that Pioneer Investments, LLC and its president ignored state rental, lead hazard, and consumer protection laws that placed the health and safety of hundreds of renters at risk.

“Let’s cut right to it — as alleged, profits are being placed over basic human dignity and that cannot stand,” said Neronha.

Anurag Sureka, said Neronha, owns more than 175 residential rental units cross Rhode Island. His properties are allegedly falling into disrepair, posing significant health and safety hazards, and putting tenants at risk, especially children.

Pioneer properties is also accused of improperly charging and overcharging late fees on tenants “all while profiting unfairly from tenants with limited options in Rhode Island’s historically tight rental market,” said Neronha.

Neronha cited the Department of Health’s analysis, which reports that at least 11 children had detectable levels of lead and about five children had been lead poisoned while living in Sureka’s properties.

The attorney general’s office is ordering Pioneer properties to provide code-complaint, lead-safe housing, and complete and truthful lead disclosures to tenants. They’re also asking that Sureka pays back those tenants that were fined and penalized

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