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Auditors Criticize MD Department of the Environment on Lead Oversight

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A recent report by the State Office of Legislative Audits criticized the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for inadequate oversight and follow-up of affected rental properties required to be registered with the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Reviewing MDE records for the period July 1, 2010 through July 29, 2013, the report found:

  • MDE did not use available reports to help identify all owners who had failed to renew their prior year registrations and follow-up actions, such as sending notices and assessing penalties on property owners failing to renew, were not sufficient.
  • MDE did not compare registration records to certification records to ensure that owners with registered properties also had the required inspection certificate.

In its response to the audit findings, MDE stated that the process for identifying non-compliant rental property owners during that period was delayed due to the implementation and migration of property owner registration in 2012 to a new web-based database. MDE collected over $876,000 from non-compliant owners, but due to staff limitations, is now focusing on new cases of non-compliance. Procedures have been established to refer any owner of five or more rental properties who fails to register or renew for enforcement. MDE is also developing requirements for a new certificate database that will link the certificate database to the registration database and compare certificates to registrations.