Council Enacts Legislation That Requires Radon Testing in Rental Housing

by Patrick Herron

From the Office of Councilmember Craig Rice:
ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 1, 2022
On Tuesday, November 1, the Montgomery County Council enacted Bill 26-22, Landlord-Tenant Relations – Radon Testing and Mitigation – Required, which requires radon testing in multi-family and single-family rental housing, disclosure of results to tenants and mitigation, if radon levels are at or above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended action level. The bill requires testing prior to occupancy and that educational information on radon, testing and mitigation be provided to all tenants. This legislation expands the coverage of Bill 31-15, which was cosponsored by Councilmember Rice and enacted in 2015. This law requires the seller of a single-family home to test for radon and provide the results to the buyer prior to completing the sale of the home.

“I am proud of the collaboration on this bill that prioritized the health and welfare of our residents,” said Councilmember Rice. “Our renters should be able to ensure their home is safe from the presence of high radon levels and the increased risk exposure brings to contracting lung cancer. I appreciate the efforts of our Department of the Environment who regularly conduct outreach on the risks of radon and provide information on obtaining and properly utilizing radon test kits. Radon is an environmental issue and protecting all residents, our renters and owners alike, is imperative to protecting community health.”

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind cigarette smoking. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is found in soil and rock in all parts of the United States. Radon can enter homes and buildings from the ground, seeping through drains, cracks or other holes in the foundation. The EPA has designated Montgomery County as Zone One meaning that the county is at higher risk of actionable levels of radon. Under Bill 26-22, landlords are required to conduct radon testing of basement units and units in contact with the ground prior to a tenant’s occupancy. If testing indicates a radon level equal to or greater than the EPA recommended action level of four picocuries per liter, landlords must take steps to mitigate the radon risk. Finally, if the level of radon is not mitigated to below the required action level, tenants have the right to terminate their lease without penalty.

Bill 26-22 becomes effective on July 1, 2023.

For more information, the Council staff report can be viewed here.

Learn more about radon at the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection:


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