Understanding Montgomery County, Maryland Radon Bill 26-22: A Step Towards Safer Rental Properties
September 9, 2023 - Early and accurate radon detection can save you from radon associated health risks. Continuous radon monitoring ensures your home consistently remains at a safe level providing peace of mind. The newly passed Montgomery County, Maryland Radon Bill 26-22 seals the deal.
What is radon and why radon testing is important?
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally from the decay of uranium and thorium in soil, rocks, and water. It is invisible, odorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable to the human senses. Radon can seep out of the ground and accumulate indoors, posing a health risk when the gas and its radioactive decay particles are inhaled, potentially leading to lung cancer.
As the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 annual deaths in the U.S. Thankfully, radon risks are totally preventable with quick and accurate radon testing and mitigation. Equally vital is the continuous monitoring of radon to ensure they consistently remains at a safe level.
Bill 26-22: New radon regulations overview
According to the EPA, Montgomery County, Maryland's radon level is at or above 4 pCi/L (Picocuries Per Liter) - the EPA action level for radon mitigation. To address this issue and protect the residents, the Montgomery County, MD Council passed Radon Bill 26-22, which became effective on July 1, 2023.
This legislation mandates radon testing and, if necessary, mitigation, in both single- and multi-family rental units. Let's take a closer look at what this bill entails and how it aims to safeguard the community:
Radon Testing Before Lease:
Landlords must conduct radon testing in all ground-contact units before leasing the property to tenants. The test must be performed within three years after the date of the lease. The landlord is responsible for the cost of testing.
Retesting before a new lease helps track any seasonal radon fluctuations and guarantees that the rental properties remain safe.
Disclosure of Test Results:
For new leases and lease renewals starting on or after July 1, 2023, a landlord must provide a professional radon test result conducted less than three years after lease signing. This transparency not only improves landlord-tenant relationships but enables tenants to make informed decisions about their living conditions.
Mitigation of Elevated Radon Levels:
If the radon concentration is at or above 4 pCi/L, the landlord must take steps to mitigate promptly.
Lease Termination Option:
To hold landlords accountable, Bill 26-22 allows tenants to terminate their lease agreement if the landlord fails to comply with the mitigation requirements.
Who Is Affected?
Additionally, property managers and radon measurement and mitigation specialists are also impacted by the bill as they play a crucial role in facilitating compliance with the new requirements.
Radon Safety Guide
When it comes to safeguarding your space from radon exposure, being well-informed is key. The Montgomery County, Maryland guide underscores the significance of conducting both short-term tests and engaging in long-term radon monitoring practices. While a quick test offers a snapshot of the current radon levels, the county strongly advises adopting a continuous radon monitoring approach.
Conventional test kits cover up to 90 days of radon monitoring. However, given the dynamic nature of radon levels fluctuating across seasons and even within a single day relying solely on periodic tests might not provide a complete understanding of potential risks. To ensure continuous and ongoing safety, the reliable approach is to adopt continuous radon monitoring.
Digital radon monitoring emerges as the optimal solution in this effort. Home radon detectors, like EcoBlu, are easy to use, provide fast results, and maintain an ongoing calculation of the average radon level. What's more, the integration of intelligent radon detectors with mobile apps, such as EcoQube, extends the convenience to both landlords and tenants. The “Shared access” feature allows both parties to track radon levels in the mobile app anytime, anywhere.
Left: EcoQube with a mobile app; Right: EcoBlu's multi-monitoring modes
Going further, continuous radon monitors showcase historical radon trends (see mobile app above), enabling users to discern radon fluctuations over time. Moreover, they offer radon alerts in instances where radon levels approach or surpass the recommended action thresholds. This proactive approach not only aids in maintaining a high standard of indoor air quality but also empowers individuals to take timely measures to address any potential concerns.
For a concise comparison of traditional radon test kits and digital radon monitors, grab our Downloadable Chart Continuous Radon Monitors vs. Conventional Test Kits.
Limit Liability with Professional Radon Management:
If landlords or property managers choose to outsource radon testing to a qualified contractor, be sure to choose a professional who is certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). For optimal liability protection, make sure they test with an approved continuous radon monitor like the Ecosense RadonEye Pro (RD200P) and follow the ANSI-AARST Radon Measurement Protocols.
Montgomery County, Maryland radon regulations represent a significant step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of residents. By mandating radon testing and mitigation, this legislation addresses potential health risks that often go unnoticed.
As responsible residents, it is our duty to protect ourselves and our families from potential dangers, and radon is no exception. With the Ecosense home monitors, anyone can conduct DIY radon testing to make our homes a safer place. Remember, protecting our families from radon and lung cancer is a crucial step toward ensuring a healthier and happier future. Act now, and together, we can create radon-free homes for all.