Inspections for Rental Housing

Inspections for Rental Housing

Maryland laws and regulations regarding the reduction of lead risk in rental housing provide for inspections to be conducted at various times. A rental dwelling unit which was constructed prior to 1978 must, at a minimum, meet the Risk Reduction Standard. The property owner should review the available inspection options to select the inspection service which best suits their needs.

Lead Free Certification

A property which has been determined to be free of lead paint is exempted from annual registration fees and risk reduction inspection requirements.

Contact an accredited Lead Paint Inspection Contractor who has been approved by MDE to conduct lead paint surveys. An accredited Lead Paint Inspector Technician or Risk Assessor who is employed by that contractor will perform a detailed survey of all painted surfaces to determine that there is no lead paint.

A property which has no lead paint on interior surfaces but does have lead paint on exterior surfaces may qualify for a Limited Lead Free certificate. The inspector must determine that there is no chipping, peeling, or flaking paint on the exterior surfaces.  Limited Lead Free Certificates are only good for two years.  The exterior of the property must pass a Re-inspection, to ensure there is no chipping, peeling, or flaking exterior paint, by an accredited inspector prior to the expiration of the certificate.  All work performed to meet the lead hazard reduction standards, including cleaning, must be conducted by an MDE accredited contractor or supervisor.

If the lead paint survey determines that lead paint is present, an accredited abatement supervisor/contractor can fully abate that paint. A Lead Paint Risk Assessor can issue a Lead Free certificate following a determination that the abatement has been satisfactorily completed. There is, however, no obligation under the law to fully remove or otherwise permanently abate all of the lead paint in a rental property.

Full Risk Reduction Certification

This inspection requires a Dust Inspection, which is generally conducted in a vacant unit prior to occupancy by a new tenant.  This inspection must be done before a new tenant moves in. An inspector must collect dust samples from each room in the unit.  Each dust sample must be analyzed by a qualified laboratory, and the results must fall below specified levels. In general, testing for lead contaminated dust is most likely to be successful in a clean, well maintained property. Flaking or chalking lead paint on windows, in particular, may be an important source of lead dust in a unit.

Modified Risk Reduction Certification

This inspection requires both a Visual Inspection and a Dust Inspection and is generally conducted in an occupied unit in response to either: (a) a notice of defective paint or related conditions which may increase the risk of lead exposure; or (b) a notice that a child or pregnant woman in the unit has a lead level of 10 micrograms or higher per deciliter of blood. Prior to the Visual Inspection, the property owner should review the lead hazard reduction requirements of the law. All work performed to meet the lead hazard reduction standards, including cleaning, must be conducted by an MDE accredited contractor or supervisor. After all work has been completed, an accredited Lead Paint Visual Inspector or Lead Paint Risk Assessor may verify that the necessary work has been satisfactorily completed and can then issue the certificate.


For additional information contact the Maryland Department of the Environment, Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 410-537-3825 or 1-800-776-2706 (TDY 1-800-735-2258)