Chip and Joanna Gaines Fined $40,000 for Breaking Safety Rules on Fixer Upper

The civil penalty is part of a settlement Magnolia reached with the United States Environmental Protection Agency

By Elyse Dupre Jun 06, 2018 1:29 PMTags
ESC: Joanna Gaines, Chip Gaines, Fixer Upper, HGTVHGTV

Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines' renovation firm Magnolia Waco Properties, LLC will pay a $40,000 civil penalty.

The penalty is part of a settlement the organization reached with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly violating terms of the "Renovation, Remodeling and Painting Rule"—otherwise known as the RRP Rule.

According to the EPA's website, the RRP Rule requires renovation firms to use lead safe work practices when working on homes containing lead-based paint, which can be found in properties built before 1978.

Upon review, the EPA found evidence of noncompliance at 33 properties Magnolia renovated. According to the agency, Magnolia allegedly did not comply with several of the RRP Rule requirements, including the following: having the firm obtain EPA certification prior to the renovations, assigning certified renovators to necessary projects, providing home occupants with approved pamphlets about lead-based paint hazards prior to renovations, posting signs to clearly mark work areas and warn people to stay away from these areas and complying with RRP Rule's work practice standards.

"Video footage of Magnolia's renovations of older homes appearing in several seasons of Fixer Upper reviewed by EPA did not depict the lead-safe work practices normally required by the RRP Rule," a statement on the EPA's website read. "After EPA contacted Magnolia with concerns about the company's compliance, Magnolia took immediate steps to ensure compliance with the RRP Rule, including to obtain RRP certification and training for the firm and its staff and to ensure active compliance across all ongoing renovation projects."

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In addition to paying the aforementioned civil penalty and taking the steps mentioned in the prior statement, Magnolia created a compliance management program, which (per the EPA) includes a record-keeping checklist for staff and contractors and an agreement to compile periodic reports for the EPA in regards to the company's compliance implementation.

Through their HGTV program, which ended in April, the couple also educated the public on lead-based paint hazards and precautions. The two spoke about the topic on a Mar. 21 episode of Fixer Upper and Chip posted about it on Twitter. The company also agreed to share a video about lead-based paint on Magnolia's website.

Furthermore, the EPA's website stated Magnolia pledged to spend $160,000 on a supplemental environmental project, which aims to decrease lead-based paint hazards in the community.

A Magnolia spokesperson addressed the settlement in a statement to E! News.

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint alleging that Magnolia Homes did not comply with all of the requirements of the RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) Rule," the spokesperson said. "Shortly after being first contacted by the EPA three years ago, Magnolia Homes took immediate steps to bring its activities into compliance with [the Toxic Substances Control Act]." 

The spokesperson continued, "Additionally, to take its commitment a step further, Magnolia Homes made the decision to implement a compliance management program in which it adopted an enhanced renovation record-keeping checklist for use by Magnolia Homes staff and subcontractors."

The statement concluded, "We continue to be proactive with our efforts to ensure total compliance moving forward, and remain committed to raising awareness in our community and our industry."