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Rental Registries

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A Rental Registry is a system used to ensure that all rental properties in a jurisdiction are properly registered according to that jurisdiction’s policies and procedures and meet inspection or certification requirements where they exist. In Maryland, per the Maryland Risk Reduction and Lead Risk in Housing Law that was passed in 1994 and went into full effect in 1996, rental property owners must register any affected rental property annually with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The annual registration and the lead inspection certification requirements are documented in an MDE database. Registration and inspection certification information is loaded into MDE’s public database which allows anyone to check to see if a property is properly registered and if they have a valid lead inspection certificate. As a part of the registration, the property owner is also required to pay $30 per unit a year. The revenue generated by Maryland rental registration fees are placed in a fund that pays for lead inspectors, mostly for enforcement purposes, but does not contribute to lead remediation.

Strategic Implementation

The Maryland Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law and the Rental Registry Database has spurred significant private investment in lead poisoning prevention but required a policy change in the state of Maryland. To implement a rental registry in your jurisdiction, you must:

  1. Make the case to policymakers that rental registries are needed. Rental registries provide a mechanism for ensuring that property owners comply with state and local housing, health and safety codes as well as other relevant policies and regulations.
  2. Address concerns from the potential opposition. Here are some common concerns that surface regarding rental registration:
    • It can be costly to property owners
    • It will negatively impact the rental market by increasing rental rates
    • Enforcement is expensive

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