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Rental housing registries can be a useful tool in disseminating information to consumers about where lead-safe or lead-free rental units exist, and in regulating and incentivizing lead remediation and lead certifications for rental housing. Registries may be a simple listing of properties that have received a lead inspection certification or may be a platform that is linked to housing code enforcement data, and/or other data sources, to promote transparency in your community’s rental housing market, increase the market demand for lead safe housing, and maximize the information available to the tenant consumer.
The most usable Lead Safe Housing Registries are searchable, web-based tools, rather than static documents which can be more difficult to update. Any Lead Safe Housing Registry is beneficial, however, to increase lead safe housing options for parents, increase market demand for lead certified housing and to incentivize rental property owners to invest in remediating lead hazards in their units. There are several free or low-cost geo-coding programs available online which can be used to geo locate lead safe and lead-free housing for the user. Lead Safe Housing Registries are often administered through a state, county or community’s lead poisoning prevention program (as a record of properties which have been made lead safe, lead free, or similar certification through the state, county or community housing department (as a record of properties with lead safe or lead-free certifications). Lead Safe Housing Registries can also be tied to other data sources, for example outstanding and historical housing code violations records, or water utility data about lead service line location, and marketed directly to young families or other consumers at-risk for lead exposure in the home environment.
Maryland’s rental registries were established in 1994 as a part of the state’s flagship lead poisoning prevention law. The Maryland Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law (Environmental Article § 6-801-852) was the first law in the nation to require mandatory and proactive rental inspections as well as remediation of lead hazards in all pre-1978 rental property. Among the other critical components, the law requires properties owners to register their rental properties, which involves paying an annual fee of $30 per unit as well as certifying through an inspection that each property is lead-safe.
The collection of the registration fees directly supports enforcement of the law by paying for 4-5 full-time Attorney Generals at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), who administers the registration process and pursues enforcement actions against non-compliant rental units. Every year MDE issues between 400-800 notices of violations for which heavy fines are often collected, an enforcement mechanism that is made possible by the rental registry.
Download the Rental Registry Form.