Baltimore Building, Fire and Related Codes, Property Maintenance Code, Section 301.4


Lead-paint hazards must be abated in accordance with (Section 301.4):

  1. The rules and regulations of:
    • The Maryland Department of the Environment; and
    • The Baltimore City Health Department; and
  2. The Department of Public Works’ requirements governing discharges into the storm water system.


These provisions apply to any dwelling unit that (Section 301.4.1):

  1. Is the subject of a notice or order for the treatment of lead paint; and
  2. Becomes unoccupied either:
    • Before the notice or order is served; or
    • While the notice or order is still outstanding.

Unoccupied Dwelling

  1. Posting of Notice:  If a dwelling unit is or becomes unoccupied, the Health Commissioner must immediately post 1 or more public notices in, on, or around the dwelling unit stating that the dwelling unit may not be reoccupied until the lead paint notice or order has been abated (Section 301.4.2).
  2. Reoccupancy Prohibited: If a dwelling unit is or becomes unoccupied, the dwelling unit may not be reoccupied until (Section 301.4.3):
    • The lead paint notice or order has been abated; and
    • The Health Commissioner has given written approval of reoccupancy.
  3. Unauthorized Reoccupancy: If a dwelling unit is reoccupied in violation of this law (Section 301.4.5):
    • Each day that an unauthorized occupancy continues is     a separate     offense; and
    • The owner, operator, and unauthorized occupant of     the unit are subject to the following penalties:
      • A criminal fine of up to $500 for each offense; and
      • A civil fine of up to $500 for each offense.


Baltimore City Health Department, Lead Hazard Abatement Regulations


When a child is identified as having an elevated blood lead (EBL) level, the Health Commissioner must request that the Health Department conduct an environmental investigation. The environmental investigation must be of the child's current residence and may include any secondary residence, such as any residence in which the child was living at the time of the blood test that identified an EBL level and/or any residence in which the child resided in the past year prior to any blood test that identified an EBL level (Section 2-101(a)).
If the child's residence is part of a multi-family dwelling, then all units, common areas and the premises of the multi-family dwelling may be inspected for lead hazards (Section 2-101(b)).

Violation Notice and Order to Abate Lead Hazards

If the Commissioner determines the existence of lead hazards, the Commissioner must issue a "Violation Notice & Order to Abate Lead Hazards" to the owner notifying him of the existence of lead hazards and ordering the abatement of hazards within a time period not to exceed 30 days, unless otherwise ordered by the Commissioner (Section 3-101(a)).

Every owner and operator of any property is obligated, with all other owners and operators of that property, to comply with all notices and orders issued by the Commissioner with regard to the abatement of lead hazards from the property (Section 3-101(b)).

Violation notices must be served on the owner or operator, or other person responsible for compliance (Section 3-101(d)).

Abatement Work Procedures

The minimum mandatory standards, methods and requirements for every abatement of lead hazards, whether or not that abatement is being carried out in response to a notice issued by the Commissioner, an agency of government, a court, or voluntarily, are as follows (Section 4-101(a)):

  1. Posting a sign on dwelling under abatement.
    • Caution signs must be 20-inches by 14-inches and posted immediately inside the entrances and exits of the property under abatement. The sign must be conspicuously placed and must inform persons entering or exiting the property that an abatement of a lead hazard violation will be or is being performed.
    • Except in emergency situations, signs must be posted at least three days in advance of commencing the abatement project.
    • Signs must remain posted until the Health Department issues a written notice to the person responsible for compliance.
  2.  If the surface requiring abatement is subject to a violation or is found to be in violation of the Baltimore City Building, Fire, and  Related Codes, and that code violation is likely to cause deterioration of surfaces, the code violation must be corrected prior to the abatement of the lead hazard violation unless the Commissioner determines that the correction of the violation is more appropriate after the abatement process. Examples of such code violations include but are not limited to: plumbing leaks that affect painted or plastered surfaces and structural defects that cause plaster to crack or break.
  3. Work must be done in progression through the dwelling beginning with the area farthest from the entrance. In a multi-story dwelling or secondary residence, work must begin on the uppermost floor in the area farthest from the stairway.
  4. Furnishings, including wall-to-wall carpeting, must be removed from each room or area as it is prepared for abatement. Those furnishings that cannot be moved (e.g., built-in furniture) must be covered with plastic at least 6 mils. thick and sealed with tape. Furnishings should be thoroughly cleaned to remove lead dust before returning them to a room that has undergone abatement.
  5. Each area that is to be abated must be sealed with plastic at least 6 mils. thick and taped prior to abatement in order to contain the lead dust and abatement residue.
  6. All cabinets, closets and drawers must be sealed with tape so as to prevent contamination by lead dust and/or lead particles.
  7. In the case of a rental property, the tenant is responsible for the removal of all ingestible items from any room or area under abatement prior to the commencement of the abatement.
  8. The entire floor of the work area must be covered with plastic at least 6 mils. thick, and all seams and edges must be secured with tape or staples.

Prohibited Methods of Abatement

Persons performing abatement of lead-containing substances may not use the following methods: open flame burning; dry sanding; open abrasive blasting; uncontained hydro-blasting; methylene chloride for interior use except that methylene chloride may be used in interior work areas for localized touch-up; dry scraping; heat gun operating at or above 1,100°F (Section 4-102(a)).

A person performing abatement of lead-containing substances must only use the following methods: replacement with a part free of lead-containing substances; removal of lead based paint using an approved removal method; reversal of component parts; or encapsulation of the surface. NOTE: Not all of these options are permitted or suitable for all surfaces. Please see Section 4-103 through 4-106 for specific surface abatement method (Section 4-102(b)).

Lead in Soil

If the soil is tested and found to contain lead the owner must (Section 4-107(a)):

  1. Enclose soil with cement or grass, or sod to eliminate bare soil exposure to children, or
  2. Remove 6 inches of topsoil from the contaminated area, place water-permeable textile fabric over the exposed subsurface, and cover fabric with 8 inches of clean soil and ground cover.
  3. Keep children and animals out of contaminated soil.
  4. Not grow vegetables in contaminated soil.

Clean Up

At the end of each workday, rooms or areas in which abatement is incomplete must be thoroughly cleaned or properly sealed from the remainder of the dwelling or secondary residence (Section 4-108(a)). Before unsealing each room or area, it should be thoroughly cleaned, surfaces re-coated, and then cleaned again. Once a room or area has received clean-up, it should not be reentered by workmen (Section 4-108(b)).

At a minimum, the first clean-up should consist of a thorough High Efficiency Particle Accumulator (HEPA) vacuuming of all surfaces, including woodwork and wood trim, ceilings, windows and window wells, and floors, followed by a high phosphate wash and a second HEPA vacuuming. After repainting or coating walls, woodwork and wood trim, ceilings, windows, and floors the clean-up process should be repeated. (Section 4-108(c)). In the absence of a HEPA vacuum, two thorough wet washings with a high phosphate wash, with frequent changes of water, each followed by a wet vacuuming while surfaces are still wet followed by two additional such treatments after repainting or coating will be considered satisfactory (Section 4-108(d)). Use of an ordinary household vacuum for clean-up of abatement debris is prohibited and sweeping should be limited to preliminary cleanings only (Section 4-108(e)). All sponges, rags, mop heads and other materials used in dean-up must be properly disposed of along with other abatement debris (Section 4-108(f)).

Persons and Pets Prohibited During Abatement

Persons and pets may not enter or remain in the work area at any time during the abatement process or until such time as the Commissioner determines that abatement has been completed in a satisfactory manner unless that person is: the person responsible for compliance, a federal, State or City official, an inspector or contractor or their employee hired for the abatement project (Section 5-101(b)).

In the case of rental properties, the owner must immediately secure a temporary lead-safe residence for the tenants and pay all relocation expenses for the tenants and tenants must not return to the residence until the abatement has been completed (Section 5-101(c)). An owner may not eject, lock out, raise the rent, or decrease services to tenants in response to being issued a "Violation Notice and Order to Abate," a "Notice of Elevated Blood Lead Level," or a "Notice of Defect (Section 5-101(d)).

Disposal of Abatement Waste

Disposal of waste generated in the course of the abatement process must be in compliance with Hazardous Waste Small Quantity Generators regulations as required by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR).
Lead waste subject to COMAR must be removed from the site not later than seven days after completing the abatement. Lead waste not subject to COMAR must be removed from the site not later than twenty-four hours after completing the abatement (Section 5-103(a)). Lead abatement waste must be transported and disposed of in a manner to prevent lead from becoming airborne (Section 5-103(b)). In no event may such waste be disposed of through regular residential or commercial trash collection (Section 5-103(d)).

Clearance Inspections

Upon request from the person responsible for compliance to the Department, and within a reasonable timeframe after, the Commissioner must perform a clearance inspection to determine if the abatement has been completed in conformance with this regulation (Section 6-101(a)). In the case of rental property, no clearance inspection may be conducted unless the owner of that property has registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment ("MDE") Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and provided the Department with verification of such registration (Section 6-101(c)).

Penalties and Fines

Violations of this regulation are subject to civil and criminal penalties as provided in the Health Code and the Building, Fire, and Related Codes of Baltimore City (Section 8-101).

Liability of the Department

Any liability claim related to the Health Commissioner's enforcement of this regulation, including a finding of satisfactory abatement, is subject to the Local Tort Claims Act (Section 10-101).


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