Lead Paint Inspection


Maryland Department of the Environment runs the State mandated Lead Paint Program. The law established states that any property built prior to 1950 that is used as a rental property must meet one of the inspection standards and have a Lead Paint Certificate. There are several different types of Lead Paint Certificates that can be acquired to satisfy the MDE requirements. Below are the main four that most landlords will acquire and what is needed to acquire them.

Lead Free Inspection

To acquire a Lead free inspection certificate the property must be inspected with an XRF according to Maryland Department of the Environment protocol for Lead Free inspections. Sample readings must be taken from each room in the property. All four walls, ceilings, sample of baseboards, sample of a door, and a sample of a window have to be done for each room of the property. This includes all bedrooms, living and dining rooms and all bathrooms and the basement. Sample readings throughout the exterior of the property must also be taken. This would include walls, windows doors and all exterior trim. The level of lead in paint in Maryland that is considered Lead free is .7 or below. With this type of certificate there is allowed to be peeling paint present on the property due to the fact it has been documented that the paint posses no hazard because it doesn't have elevated levels of lead in the paint.

Once the whole property has been inspected with an XRF and found to have no elevated levels of Lead Paint inside and out, the property is then considered to be Lead Free and a certificate can be issued on the property. Once a Lead Free certificate has been issued on a property there never has to be another Lead Paint Inspection on the property for the life of the property. This certificate can also be transferred with the sale of the property.

For a surface that has lead paint on it to be considered Lead Free that surface either has to be stripped completely to bare wood or covered with an approved MDE material such as wood or aluminum capping. Another way to make something Lead Free is to completely remove the item that has Lead Paint on it and replace it with new material.

Limited Lead Free Inspection


To acquire a Limited Lead Free certificate all the interior requirements are the same as the Lead Free Inspection. The difference is that the exterior is allowed to have elevated levels of Lead Paint. Due to the fact that there are elevated levels on the exterior MDE requires a visual inspection of the exterior and all painted surfaces cannot have any chipping, flaking or peeling paint. Once the interior reading have been taken and there is found to be no elevated levels of lead Paint and the exterior has been visually inspected then a Limited Lead Free certificate can be issued on the property. The Limited Lead Free certificate is good for a period of 2 years. Prior to the 2 year expiration date the exterior of the property needs to be re-inspected for any chipping, flaking or peeling paint. If exterior paint is all in good condition then a form is sent to MDE to indicate this and the Limited Lead Free certificate stays in effect. If nothing is done prior to the 2 year expiration date then the Limited Lead Free certificate expires. Limited Lead Free certificates do not expire at tenant turn over.

Full Risk Reduction inspection

To complete a Full Risk Reduction inspection the interior and exterior are visually inspected for any chipping flaking or peeling paint. Only when it is determined that all painted surfaces are in good condition inside and out, can dust wipe sampling take place. MDE requires one dust wipe sample from each room taken if there are replacement windows in each room of the property. If there are not replacement windows in each room, then the rooms that have the old wood windows in them must have two samples per room taken. One sample must come from the window well and the other can come from the window sill or the floor. Once the dust samples are taken then they are sent to an accredited lab and as long as there isn't elevated levels of lead dust in all the samples then a Full Risk Reduction certificate can be issued. If one or more of the samples fails then we need to come and retest the failed areas after they have been properly cleaned.

Recommendations prior to having a Full Risk Reduction Inspection:

  1. Make sure all peeling paint issues are addressed. This includes any surface that has been painted inside or out. Fences, garages, concrete patios, steps etc.
  2. It is very hard to get old wood windows to pass a dust wipe inspection unless they are painted very recently the best thing to do is to install replacement windows throughout the property.
  3. The entire property should be HEPA vacuumed and then all the smooth floors should be detergent washed. Also HEPA vacuum the front and rear porches so that lead paint dust is not tracked into the property prior to the dust wipe inspection.

Once a Full Risk reduction certificate has been issued it will expire at tenant turn over. It doesn't matter what the length of time the tenant occupies the property. If they are only there for 2 months and then vacate a new Full Risk Reduction inspection must take place prior to the new tenants moving into the property.