February 18th, 2006 06:41 EST
Deadline nears for Maryland landlords to fix state-mandated lead hazards
A deadline is approaching in which landlords may be fined up to $250 per day if lead hazards aren't repaired in the state of Maryland. Feb. 24 is the day that landlords face such fines for the owners of about 40,000 older apartments across the state.
Horacio Tablada, director of waste management for the Maryland Department of the Environment, stated that landlords need to hire licensed inspectors to make sure the rental properties do not have lead dust or pelling paint, in order to receive a "lead hazard risk reduction" certificate.
This requirement applies to all rental properties built before 1950, whether children reside there or not.
"If the landlord maintains the property, and the tenant maintains it, so there is no dust or shipping paint, the children will get no poisioning or elevated lead blood levels," Tablada said.
If a landlord fails to produce a certificate after Feb. 24, tenants can call MDE at 410-537-3441 to complain, according to MDE spokesman Richard.
The requirement comes from a 1994 law put into state regulations two years later, which gave landlords 10 years to make sure their units are not hazardous to children.
Because of the law, the percentage of children with elevated lead blood levels has dropped from 24 percent in 1993 to 1.7 precent in 2004, according to MDE officials.