Lead FAQs

Q: How can I buy a home that is lead safe?

A. Houses and apartments built before 1950 have the highest risk for lead hazards. Buildings built before 1978 are also at risk for lead hazards. Always look for signs of lead hazards, before you buy and continue to check the paint condition even after you move in. Look for:

  • Chipping, peeling paint
  • Doors or windows that rub when you try to open them
  • Paint chips in window wells, on the floor or porch, or on soil outside the home

The seller must give you written information about lead and disclose all lead test results for the home. You can request a lead inspection or dust test before you buy. Maryland Department of the Environment provides a list of registered inspectors here.

Click here to see if the property is on the city’s most recent lead violation list.  Also call the Baltimore City Health Department at 443-984-2460 to see if there have been changes made to the list.

Q: How can I rent a home that is lead safe?

A: Houses and apartments built before 1950 have the highest risk for lead hazards. Buildings built before 1978 are also at risk for lead hazards. Always look for signs of lead hazards, before you buy and continue to check the paint condition even after you move in. Look for:

  • Chipping, peeling paint
  • Doors or windows that rub when you try to open them
  • Paint chips in window wells, on the floor or porch, or on soil outside the home

If your apartment was built before 1950:

Your landlord must show you a “risk reduction” certificate before you move in. A certificate shows that the property met Maryland standards for reducing lead hazards. Landlords need to perform “risk reduction treatments” at least once on a property, and every time a new tenant moves in (Maryland State Law, Environment Article §6-801 – 6-852).

To find out if your apartment has a lead certificate, call Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-4199.

Always look for signs of lead hazards, even after you move in.

If the property has chipping, peeling paint, you can ask the landlord to fix those lead hazards. Send a copy of the Notice of Defect to your landlord via certified mail. Your landlord is required by Maryland State Law to fix the problem within thirty days. If your landlord does not fix the problem, send a copy of the “return receipt” card with the landlord’s signature and the Notice of Defect to Maryland Department of the Environment. Call Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-4199 for more help.

Q: Are all properties with lead hazards in the City of Baltimore on this list?

A: No. This list only includes properties with active lead violations issued by the City of Baltimore Health Department since January 1, 2006. Many other properties have lead hazards. Homes built before 1978 (especially 1950) are likely to contain lead hazards.

Q: If an owner corrects a violation notice, does that mean that the property is lead-free?

A: Not necessarily. Correction of the violation notice means that on the day an inspector visited the property, the inspector found that the lead hazards had been fixed. The property also had to pass dust sample tests, showing that the levels of lead in the dust were below federal standards. The property may still have lead paint; the paint was just not chipping or peeling when the inspector was there. The paint could chip or peel later and have lead hazards.

Q: What laws govern lead violations in the City?

A number of city and state laws address lead hazards in Baltimore, including:
Baltimore City Health Department regulations
Maryland State Law

Q: How do I contact the Health Department – Healthy Homes Bureau – Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program?

Address: 7 East Redwood St., 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD  21202
Telephone: 443-984-2460

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