An ordinance that will require specific rental properties in the city to be tested for the presence of radon will go into effect Sept. 27.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas found in soil and rock, formed by the natural decay of uranium. While no immediate symptoms signal its presence, exposure at high levels can cause cancer. Testing is the only way to know a home’s radon levels.
The testing requirement will apply to all units in a rental facility in contact with the ground, including basement apartments and any dwelling unit with a basement, crawl spaces or units built on a slab in contact with the ground.
Landlords will be required to conduct a radon test before leasing a qualifying dwelling unit.
The legislation also addresses instances when tenants can have their rental unit tested for radon. If the test results are above the 4 picocuries per liter standard, the tenant must report the test results to the landlord in writing. Landlords must initiate a follow-up radon test within 14 days to confirm radon levels. If confirmed, the landlord must take steps to reduce the radon level within safe parameters and provide tenants a copy of test results indicating levels have been reduced.
A tenant has the right to terminate the lease without the loss of a security deposit if the landlord fails to mitigate the issue.
Find information about radon mitigation measures and how to order discounted radon test kits at www.rockvillemd.gov/radon. Learn more about radon at www.epa.gov/radon. For more information, email Jim Wasilak at [email protected].