Baltimore Lead Paint Laws

Various laws and regulations apply to lead paint hazards, removal, and remediation in the city of Baltimore. These laws exist to protect children and families from the dangerous health effects that could develop from exposure to lead paint. When property owners or landlords violate Baltimore lead paint laws, affected individuals may have a cause of action for compensation under state law.

The impact of lead paint poisoning, particularly for children and pregnant women, can be life-altering. Once lead paint poisoning has occurred, there is little that can reverse the damage that has occurred. If negligence has led to you or a family member suffering from lead paint poisoning, you may wish to contact a personal injury lawyer for advice.

The Baltimore City Health Department and Laws Governing Lead Paint

The Baltimore City Health Department has the responsibility of monitoring and enforcing lead hazard abatement regulations to reduce incidences of lead paint poisoning.

Under Baltimore City Health Department Lead Hazard Abatement Regulations § 2-101, when a blood test identifies a child with an elevated blood lead level, the Health Department must take action.

The Department must conduct an environmental investigation of the residence of the child and any other homes in which the child recently lived. If the child lives in a multi-family dwelling, such as an apartment building, then the investigation could include the entire building.

If various tests indicate that a lead paint hazard exists, the Commissioner of the Health Department must issue a “Violation Notice & Order to Abate Lead Hazards” to the property owner under § 3-101. This notice orders the property owner to properly abate the lead hazards within 30 days.

The lead paint laws in Baltimore also set forth detailed work procedures for abating lead paint hazards. Among other provisions, building owners must:

  • Conspicuously post caution signs warning of the abatement efforts
  • Correct related code violations
  • Remove all furniture and carpeting and seal non-removable furnishings, cabinets, drawers, and closets to prevent lead dust contamination

The regulations also detail the permissible and non-permissible methods of abatement for lead-containing substances, windows, ceilings, walls, woodwork, and floors. Workers performing lead paint abatement also must comply with regulations concerning daily clean-up.

Inspections by Health Department During Lead Paint Abatement

The Health Department periodically may inspect abatement work to ensure compliance with local and state regulations and laws. The Department also must perform a clearance inspection and tests to determine whether the building owner successfully performed abatement according to the law. At this point, the Health Department will issue a written statement to the building owner confirming the successful abatement.

Building owners who fail to complete the necessary abatement according to law or within the 30-day abatement period or any extension period granted can be subject to civil and criminal fines. The Department also can conduct an abatement of the lead paint hazard at the expense of the owner.

Maryland Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Act

In addition to local regulations, owners of resident rental properties built before 1978 are subject to the state Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Act. Under this law, rental owners must take the following actions:

  • Register their rental dwelling units with the Maryland Department of the Environment each year and pay an annual registration fee
  • Initiate lead paint inspections between every change in tenants
  • Distribute specific lead risk educational materials to tenants

Property owners must be aware of these responsibilities to comply with all applicable Baltimore laws concerning lead paint. If owners fail to comply with these mandates, they may be at risk of liability if lead paint poisoning to their tenants occurs.

Following Laws for Lead Paint in Baltimore

Local and state laws are crucial to protect families from lead paint poisoning. The risks of lead paint exposure in older buildings are high, and Baltimore lead paint laws are designed to help people avoid or minimize their risks.

If you or a family member has suffered lead paint poisoning, you may have a legal right to seek compensation from the property owners. As the impact of a lead paint poisoning can be catastrophic, you may wish to seek legal advice if you find yourself in this situation.