Frequently Asked Questions
- Every prospective tenant should obtain the most current copy of the District of Columbia Tenant Bill of Rights before signing a lease or purchasing a home. This document is intended to provide an overview of a tenant’s rights within the district.
- Every prospective tenant should receive and complete the District of Columbia Lead Disclosure Renters Form or the District of Columbia Lead Disclosure Real Estate Form. This document informs potential renters/owners of the presence of lead-based paint, lead-bearing plumbing, and any other related hazards at the property. The District of Columbia requires a renter/owner has access to this information before they rent/purchase a property.
- Every prospective tenant should receive proof that the property complies with all lead paint ordinances.
These inspections occur when an exchange of occupancy occurs in a property, and involve both a visual and a sampling portion. The best way to pass both of these portions is to ensure that the property is free from any damage paint and that it has been cleaned prior to inspection.
A lead dust sample is collected from wiping window sills and floors throughout the property. To prepare your property for this type of inspection, tenants should perform the following steps:
- Gently clean all windows sills and bare floors using an all-purpose cleaner and a separate rag, mop, and freshwater for each room.
- Vacuum carpeted areas twice in two separate directions or a checkerboard pattern.
On the day of the inspection, all areas around the property must be made accessible to the inspector and pets should be removed from the property as they can carry lead dust on their paws and fur.
Inspectors will likely use an XRF device to measure the lead composition of a surface without destroying any existing materials. This portable tool can detect different surface elements up to a depth of 5/8 inch using x-ray technology.
Know the Rules
Properties built before 1950 require a valid lead certificate. This can be a Full Risk Reduction certificate, a Lead-Free certificate, or a Limited Lead-Free certificate.
Effective January 1, 2015, all properties built between 1950-1978 that have new tenants or are sold, will require a new lead paint inspection.
- Obtain a current lead paint certificate.
- Register the property with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
- Renew all property registrations annually.
- Distribute the following documents to current tenants and collect signed copies: The Maryland Notice of Tenant’s Rights pamphlet and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brochure. These documents must be resigned by tenants every 2 years and they have both pamphlets.
Rental properties built before 1978 must have a Lead-Free certificate or Clearance Sampling if a tenant could be a pregnant woman or a child under 6 years of age.
There are five core types of inspections that AVETS offers. Not sure which inspection is right for your property? When our testing professionals visit your property, they will start by using an XRF gun to determine which inspection is necessary and whether or not there is lead paint present. Then, they will recommend the proper inspection based on the findings.
Lead Free Lead Paint Inspection: An inspection that uses an X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) device to determine if lead-based paint is present without destroying any materials or surfaces. If the XRF produces a real-time result that does not detect any lead, then a Lead-Free report can be issued.
Clearance Sampling Inspection: A visual survey that is performed after lead abatement is completed to check for any defective paint areas. Samples from affected areas are then taken to be analyzed by the lab, to ensure that there is no visible residue.
How to Pass a Dust Wipe
General Cleaning Tips
- Use a heavy-duty cleaner that is robust enough to break down the chemical bond of lead.
- Systematically clean lead dust from floors in a series of phases to ensure effective removal.
- Use a Highly Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum to remove any lead dust. HEPA cleaning tools have special filters that collect and trap fine dust particles without releasing them back into the air.
- Be sure to wipe down surfaces to remove dust as it could contain lead.
Cleaning Wooden Windows
During a dust wipe inspection, there are two places where samples are selected, the floor and window well. A window well is the area where the window meets the bottom of the sash when closed. To prepare for a survey clean the wooden window well thoroughly using heavy-duty cleansers and re-paint any chipped areas before an inspection, if necessary
Cleaning Basement FloorsOlder homes with concrete basement floors may be tough to clean before a dust wipe inspection. One option to avoid this cleaning challenge is to simply paint the basement floor before the survey. Covering the paint with a floor sealer will also ensure the area doesn’t succumb to wear and tear causing the paint to corrode over time.
How to Reduce the Risk of Lead Poisoning
The presence of lead in residential properties can be completely safe as long as surfaces are not disturbed or deteriorating as dust particles can become loose and easily ingested by occupants. Pregnant women and kids under the age of 6 are most at risk of ingesting lead-based paint dust and suffering from severe health complications. To determine if you have been exposed to lead-based dust you can request an inspection of the property and a wellness test from your primary physician.
All inspection standards and regulations are established by the guidance set by the following institutions: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
Lead Poisoning Risk Reduction Tips
Is Lead Paint Dangerous?
The Basics of Lead-Based Paint
Yes. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health concerns when ingested, especially by young children and pregnant women. This metal was a popular additive to the interior and exterior paint however federal regulations prohibited its use in 1978 when research showed that neurological changes and other harmful symptoms can occur when high levels of lead were ingested. However, when home surfaces containing lead are properly maintained or are free of flakes of chips, lead is not dangerous.
All older homes built before1978 are at a greater risk of having used lead-based paint. To reduce risks, homeowners should complete the following steps:
- Have your property surveyed for lead-based paint by AVETS Inc.
- Remove shoes before entering the home.
- Regularly clean all carpets with a Highly Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) certified vacuum.
- Immediately collect and dispose of any paint chips.
- Regularly use a disposable towel to wipe down painted surfaces.
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