Lead paint program applies to rental units


October 23, 1994|By Michael Gisriel

Q: I own several rental properties in the Baltimore area. I heard something recently about a new state registration law regarding houses that may contain lead paint. How will the law affect landlords?

James Graham, Baltimore

A: The new law (HB760) was passed by the General Assembly last spring and took effect on Oct. 1. The law establishes a lead paint poisoning prevention program that will be managed by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The law requires owners of older rental properties to take certain actions to attain limited liability protection and more affordable insurance.

According to the MDE, the law is designed to provide a supply of low-cost, lead-safe rental housing, and increase public education about lead paint poisoning and expanded medical and social case management for lead poisoned children and their families.

To help pay for the program, rental property owners must pay a $10 annual fee for each pre-1950 unit, or a $5 annual fee for each unit built between 1950 and 1978.

To obtain limited liability protection, property owners of all pre-1978 units must:

* 1. Register their units with the MDE by Dec. 31.

* 2. Notify tenants of lead poisoning hazards between Dec. 1, 1994, and Oct. 1, 1995.

* 3. Meet certain "risk reduction standards" before any new tenants move in.

* 4. Have all units that have undergone lead reduction treatments certified by an MDE-accredited inspector.

* 5. Perform "modified risk reduction standards" when notified of certain conditions, such as damaged, chipped or peeling paint, or the presence of a child with an elevated blood lead level.

* 6. Certify that at least 50 percent of all units have been treated for lead poisoning hazards by Oct. 1, 1999, and 100 percent by Oct. 1, 2004.

* 7. Offer a capped liability payment if a tenant becomes lead poisoned. Property owners are responsible for paying up to $7,500 in uncovered medical expenses; and up to $9,500 in tenant relocation costs.

For more information, call MDE's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (410) 631-3845.

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