We are Licensed to issue MDE inspection certificates, conduct visual inspections, perform lead dust sampling, and perform lead free inspections (10 or more units).

The Visual Lead Inspection

The Inspector will examine the property to insure that the paint is intact and shows no sign of failing. There can be NO signs of chipping, flaking or peeling paint in the interior and on or around the exterior of the property. This includes any outbuildings such as a garage or shed. (The property must pass the visual inspection first before any dust samples can be collected.)  

Dust Sample Collection

After the Visual inspection exterior and interior (is concluded and pass then and only then) will the inspector collect dust samples from each room of the home.

       * Properties with replacement windows require ONE sample per room from a window sill or window well.

       * Properties with non-replacement windows (windows with painted surfaces) require TWO samples per room. One from a window sill or well and a second from either the floor or another window sill or window well.

       * Rooms without windows require ONE sample from the floor.

Lab Testing for Lead

The samples are then sent to an accredited lab for testing. The federal government and the state of Maryland have set guidelines for lead content in paint. 

The MDE Lead Certificate

When the lab results show that (all samples taken meet the required standards) a Full Risk Reduction Certificate will be issued to the property owner. The MDE also receives a copy and if you rent a copy is also provided for the tenant.

This Notice of Tenants’ Rights explains your legal rights pursuant to the Maryland Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law, which went into effect on February 24, 1996. Under this law, property owners are required to address all potential lead-based paint hazards in rental properties constructed prior to 1978, register and annually renew registration of their properties with Maryland Department of the Environment and provide tenants with lead educational materials. 

This Notice of Tenant’s Rights provides a detailed explanation of what property owners are required to do to comply with the law, how to inform your landlord that repairs need to be performed in your home, and steps you can take to enforce your legal rights if your landlord refuses to respond to your request. Please read this material carefully and call the Lead Hotline at 410-537-4199 or 800-776-2706 if you have any questions. 


To be fully compliant with the law, your landlord is required to: 1) Give you the Notice of Tenant Rights, the EPA brochure, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home,” and a copy of the lead inspection certificate for the unit on or before the day you move in. The property owner may ask you to sign a statement acknowledging that you received these items. 2) Ensure that the property is currently registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and is required to pay a $30.00 per property/unit registration fee. 3)Obtain a passing Full Risk Reduction certificate prior to you moving into the property. DOES MY RENTAL DWELLING UNIT HAVE TO BE INSPECTED BEFORE I MOVE IN? Yes. The property owner must have the unit inspected at the owner’s expense. 

This is currently mandatory for all pre-1978 rental properties. Only an inspector accredited by MDE can perform lead inspections. If the house passes the lead inspection, the property owner will receive a copy of a Lead Paint Inspection Certificate. This certificate will be on file at MDE. The owner is required by law to give you a copy of the inspection certificate when you move in. 

WHAT IF MY LANDLORD HAS NOT COMPLIED WITH THE LAW, OR HAS FAILED TO RESPOND TO MY NOTICE? 1. Make a Referral If you have given your landlord a written Notice of Defect and no repairs have been completed, you can make a referral to Maryland Department of the Environment’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program by calling 1-800-776-2706 or 410-537-3825. When making a referral, please provide copies of the Notice of Defect, along with any verification of receipt you may have. 2. Rent Escrow Rent Escrow is a legal process that requires you to file a complaint for rent escrow in the district court in the county in which you live. If the district court grants your request for an escrow account, you will be required to pay your rent into the district court’s escrow account instead of to your landlord. 

This provides an incentive for your landlord to complete repairs in your home that threaten the life, health, or safety of you and your family. To have an escrow account established based on lead hazards, you only need to prove that your landlord is not in compliance with Maryland’s lead laws. A rent escrow account is only established after all facts have been presented to a judge in a judicial proceeding. 

Therefore, it is suggested that you seek the advice and representation of an attorney. 3. Rent Protection In 2004, the Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation requiring landlords to confirm their compliance with Maryland’s Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Law when filing for repossession of property based on a tenant’s failure to pay rent. If the property to be repossessed was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must state that they are currently registered with Maryland Department of the Environment and provide the certificate number for the inspection conducted for the current tenancy. Failure to provide this information may result in the dismissal of the landlord’s complaint. Revised 6/2023 TTY Users 1-800-735-2258 3 4. 

Retaliatory Eviction It is unlawful for your landlord to evict you for complaining about dangerous conditions present in your home, including the presence of peeling, chipping, and flaking paint. The law protects tenants against eviction and illegal rent increases initiated after notification. It is presumed that any attempt to evict a tenant or to raise the rent, except for nonpayment of rent, within two months after compliance with the applicable risk reduction standard, is in retaliation for the tenant’s notification of dangerous conditions and shall be void. It is also against the law for the property owner to evict you because there is someone in your home found to have a high blood lead level. 5. Termination of Lease & Relocation Expenses If an owner of an affected property fails to comply with the applicable risk reduction standard under §6-815 or §6-819 of the Environment Article, the owner, on the written request of the tenant, shall: (i) immediately release the tenant from the terms of the lease or rental agreement for that property; and (ii) pay to the tenant all reasonable relocation expenses, not to exceed $2,500, directly related to the permanent relocation of the tenant to a lead-free dwelling unit or another dwelling unit that has satisfied the risk reduction standard in accordance with §6-815 of the Environmental Article.

 If you have any questions about the Maryland Lead Law, visit MDE’s Website or call the Lead Hotline at 410-537-4199 or toll-free at 1-800-776-2706, or TTY 1-800-735-2258.