Hazardous Materials Inspections in Residential Properties


Providing Resources About Lead Based Paint Inspections

How to prepare for the lead-paint inspection

  • Check the property (interior, exterior and all permanent structures) to make sure that there is no chipping, peeling, flaking or chalking paint. The permanent structures on the property can include garages, tool sheds, playground equipment and fence. 
  • If you find defective paint in the property, such areas must be corrected prior to the inspection. 
  • All windows and doors must open and close smoothly, without friction.
  • The window wells, sills and floors should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned at least one hour before the inspection.
  • All paint chips and flakes fallen on the exterior of the property should be cleaned.

What You Should Do After Your Rental Property Passes the MDE Lead Inspection

1. Give the tenant the following items:

  • Pink copy of the MDE certificate
  • Brochures (links given below to download English and/or Spanish versions)

 EPA - Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home

English (pdf)


Spanish (pdf)


 MDE - Notice of Tenant Rights 

English (pdf)


Spanish (pdf)


2. For your records, have your tenant sign a self-prepared document that acknowledges receipt of the certificate and brochures.

3. Retain the original/white copy of the certificate. If someone needs verification of your certificate, make sure to only give them a copy of your original.

4. Unless you have already registered, you will need to register your property with the Maryland Dept of the Environment (MDE) - see link (click here).

Please note that obtaining a customer tracking number is the first step in registering the property, once you pass the inspection; you will need to fill out the MDE registration form, pay their fee and send in your registration.

Remember that even if there is no tenant turnover, you are required to give your tenant(s) the two brochures every 2 years to remain in compliance. Additionally, please note that a lead paint inspection is required whenever there is tenant turnover (unless you have obtained a lead free certificate)

Lead-paint Inspection Types For Rental Housing

Maryland laws and regulations regarding the reduction of lead risk in rental housing provide for inspections to be conducted at various times. A rental dwelling unit which was constructed prior to 1978 must, at a minimum, meet the Risk Reduction Standard. The property owner should review the available inspection options to select the inspection service which best suits their needs.

Lead Free Certification

A property which has been determined to be free of lead paint is exempted from annual registration fees and risk reduction inspection requirements.

A property which has no lead paint on interior surfaces but does have lead paint on exterior surfaces may qualify for a Limited Lead Free certificate. The inspector must determine that there is no chipping, peeling, or flaking paint on the exterior surfaces. Limited Lead Free Certificates are only good for two years. The exterior of the property must pass a Re-inspection, to ensure there is no chipping, peeling, or flaking exterior paint, by an accredited inspector prior to the expiration of the certificate. All work performed to meet the lead hazard reduction standards, including cleaning, must be conducted by an MDE accredited contractor or supervisor.

If the lead paint survey determines that lead paint is present, an accredited abatement supervisor/contractor can fully abate that paint. A Lead Paint Risk Assessor can issue a Lead Free certificate following a determination that the abatement has been satisfactorily completed. There is, however, no obligation under the law to fully remove or otherwise permanently abate all of the lead paint in a rental property.

Full Risk Reduction Certification

This inspection requires a Dust Inspection, which is generally conducted in a vacant unit prior to occupancy by a new tenant. This inspection must be done before a new tenant moves in. An inspector must collect dust samples from each room in the unit. Each dust sample must be analyzed by a qualified laboratory, and the results must fall below specified levels. In general, testing for lead contaminated dust is most likely to be successful in a clean, well maintained property. Flaking or chalking lead paint on windows, in particular, may be an important source of lead dust in a unit.

Modified Risk Reduction Certification

This inspection requires both a Visual Inspection and a Dust Inspection and is generally conducted in an occupied unit in response to either: (a) a notice of defective paint or related conditions which may increase the risk of lead exposure; or (b) a notice that a child or pregnant woman in the unit has a lead level of 10 micrograms or higher per deciliter of blood. Prior to the Visual Inspection, the property owner should review the lead hazard reduction requirements of the law. All work performed to meet the lead hazard reduction standards, including cleaning, must be conducted by an MDE accredited contractor or supervisor. After all work has been completed, an accredited Lead Paint Visual Inspector or Lead Paint Risk Assessor may verify that the necessary work has been satisfactorily completed and can then issue the certificate. 

Additional Information and Guidelines