Lead Poisoning- Rights as a Tenant

Older homes + Chipping paint= Potential for Poisoning.

Prior to 1978 many homes contained lead paint, it was in fact fairly common until the 1950’s when its use started to decline. Homes built before 1978 with chipping paint or dust from paint due to repairs are a cause for concern as they can expose you and your family to lead poisoning.

It is best to know what to look for and how to ensure it is rectified by your landlord if you are renting.  Lead paint can be especially dangerous to children.  As a tenant you can test for lead yourself if you are concerned you family may be exposed by collecting paint scrapings and mailing them to a qualified laboratory. You may also hire a company to come out and do testing on your property. You should ensure the company is accredited by the State of Maryland as a lead paint inspection contractor.

Determining if lead is present

According to the MDE, paint is considered to be lead paint under both Federal and Maryland State Law, if lab testing comes back showing lead levels of .5% or more by weight in dried solid then it is in fact lead paint. If the levels are greater than .06% by weight in dried solid exceed the U.S. Consumer Protection standards for lead in paint manufactured after 1977 for a variety of things including residential structures and furniture. There are other kinds of tests as well the can determine whether lead is present including chemical spot tests which allow for quick results and are inexpensive although not always extremely accurate nor determine the amount of lead present.

Requirements of Landlords under the MDE Lead Paint Program

As of January 2015 all properties built prior to 1978 used for rental purposes MUST adhere to the certain restrictions and disclosures relate to lead paint.

For any home built prior to 1978 Landlords are REQUIRED to:

1.) Address all potential lead based paint hazards if the property was built prior to 1978.  A landlord is required, within 30 days of being notified in writing of defects or that a child under 6 or pregnant woman has a blood lead elevation of 10 micrograms per deciliter or more ,to provide the relocation of all tenants to a property that is certified lead free or in compliance OR temporarily relocate all tenants while necessary work is performed and obtain a passing modified risk reduction certificate prior to tenants moving back. All work MUST be performed by persons or companies who have been trained and/or accredited by MDE.

2.) Register their rental property thru Maryland Department of the Environment within 30 days of purchase and reregister every two years.  Each Landlord should receive a copy of a lead paint inspection certificate showing their property has passed inspection. Failing inspection requires the landlord to make the necessary repairs to remove lead from the property. If the inspection is successful the Landlord will receive a Full Risk Reduction Certificate.

3.) Provide each new tenant required information regarding the dangers of lead (a Notice of Tenants Rights which outlines what is required by landlords under the law, how to notify landlords of any issues regarding lead paint and how to enforce their rights, an EPA brochure entitled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home, and a copy of the lead inspection certificate showing the landlord is in compliance with the law).

More information including confirming registration can be found here:


Click to access LeadfsStandardOfCare.pdf

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