Radon Testing and Mitigation in Rental Properties – Montgomery County Bill 26-22
Montgomery County Bill 26-22 is a significant piece of legislation that focuses on radon testing and mitigation in rental properties within Montgomery County, Maryland. This bill, which was enacted on November 1, 2022, and will become effective on July 1, 2023, aims to protect the health and well-being of tenants by implementing necessary measures to address radon hazards. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of Bill 26-22 and its key provisions.
Understanding Bill 26-22
The primary objectives of Montgomery County Bill 26-22 are:
- Radon Testing: The bill mandates that landlords of both single-family homes and multifamily dwellings must conduct a radon test before leasing a unit to a prospective tenant. The test results should be obtained within three years before the lease commencement date or an addendum to the lease (i.e.: renewal of lease).
- Lease Requirements: At the time of lease signing, landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the radon test results, certifying that radon concentrations are below the recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, landlords must include a copy of the EPA’s radon guide for tenants or an approved equivalent pamphlet from the Department of Environmental Protection.
- Tenant Rights: Existing tenants have the right to conduct a radon test or hire a radon professional to test their dwelling unit. If the test results indicate radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing within 14 days and provide a copy of the test results.
- Radon Mitigation: Upon receiving notice of a radon hazard from a tenant, landlords must initiate a follow-up radon test within 14 days to confirm the presence of radon. If confirmed, the landlord must mitigate the radon levels within 90 days, following EPA-recommended standards, and retest using a certified professional. The tenant should then be provided with a final copy of the test results, demonstrating successful mitigation.
- Cost Coverage: Landlords are responsible for covering the costs associated with follow-up, confirmation, or retesting of radon in the rental unit.
- Dispute Resolution: In cases where there are conflicting test results between the tenant and landlord, precedence is given to tests performed by radon professionals and long-term testing results over short-term results. If disputes persist, a mutually agreed-upon third-party radon professional must conduct retesting according to EPA-recommended standards.
- Radon Disclosure: Landlords must disclose in writing to each tenant, within 14 days of a confirmed radon test, any elevated radon concentrations that exceed the EPA’s recommended action level.
- Lease Termination: Tenants have the right to terminate their lease without penalty if the landlord fails to mitigate radon levels within the specified timeframe. A written notice of intent to terminate must be provided by the tenant to the landlord, allowing the tenant to vacate the premises.
The Importance of Bill 26-22
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation, posing health risks when inhaled over an extended period. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and affects thousands of people each year. Montgomery County Bill 26-22 addresses this significant health concern by focusing on radon testing, disclosure, and mitigation in rental properties.
By mandating radon testing before leasing, the bill ensures that tenants are informed about radon levels in their prospective homes. This empowers tenants to make informed decisions and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their families from potential health risks associated with radon exposure.
The lease requirements set forth in the bill guarantee that tenants receive accurate information about radon levels in their rented homes. This transparency allows tenants to assess the radon risk and take necessary precautions to safeguard their health.
The bill also establishes clear guidelines for radon mitigation. Landlords are obligated to mitigate radon levels promptly, ensuring that tenants are not exposed to hazardous concentrations. In cases where mitigation is not carried out within the specified timeframe, tenants have the right to terminate their lease without financial penalties, providing an added layer of protection and accountability for landlords.
Overall, Montgomery County Bill 26-22 plays a crucial role in protecting the health and well-being of tenants by addressing radon hazards in rental properties. By implementing mandatory testing, disclosure requirements, and mitigation measures, this legislation ensures that landlords fulfill their obligations in providing safe living environments. Tenants, on the other hand, are empowered with the right to request testing and take appropriate actions in the event of elevated radon concentrations.
As Montgomery County takes this proactive step towards radon safety, it sets an example for other jurisdictions to prioritize the well-being of their residents. By recognizing the importance of radon testing and mitigation, communities can create safer living spaces and mitigate the risks associated with this silent yet dangerous gas.
Montgomery County Bill 26-22 is a significant milestone in protecting tenants from the potential health risks of radon exposure. By mandating radon testing, imposing disclosure requirements, and outlining mitigation measures, this legislation ensures that landlords fulfill their obligations in providing safe living environments. Tenants are empowered with the right to request testing and take appropriate actions in the event of elevated radon concentrations. With the implementation of this law on July 1, 2023, Montgomery County demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding the well-being of its residents. By addressing radon hazards, we move closer to creating healthier communities and reducing the risks associated with this silent threat.
A Radon Guide for Tenants – tenants_guide.pdf (epa.gov)
Bill 26-22 – DownloadFilePage (montgomerycountymd.gov)
Deise (daisy) Rezende
Owner of Smart Home Inspects and Smart Home Radon
Deise Rezende is the owner of Smart Home Inspects and Smart Home Radon, with a passion for household management and indoor air quality. As the current president of the AARST MD Chapter, she is dedicated to raising awareness about radon gas and promoting safe living environments. Deise holds certifications in radon testing, soil gas mitigation system inspection, and mold inspection. She is a fellow at the National Radon Speakers Bureau and a member of the IAQA. With a belief in continuous learning, Deise strives to expand her knowledge in the field. Her expertise and commitment to excellence make her a trusted authority in home management and indoor air quality.
Favorite quote: “The more you learn, the less you know.” Albert Einstein