By Tyra Wilkes, Special to the AFRO

Ward 6 Council member, Charles Allen, is set to re-introduce a bill in favor of D.C. residents by tightening the laws around toxic lead-based paint in rental units. More specifically, the proposed law will focus on the associated health risks facing mothers and children. 

The Lead Hazard Prevention and Removal Amendment Act of 2019 was co-introduced by Council members Brianne Nadeau, David Grosso, Anita Bonds and Robert White, and co-sponsored by Council member Vincent Gray.

Council member Charles Allen re-introduced a bill tightening laws around toxic lead-based paint in rental units. (Courtesy Photo)

“Families deserve peace of mind to know their home isn’t putting their children at-risk,” said Allen.

“This bill raises the bar for what testing is required, strengthens the steps landlords must take to earn a lead-free or lead-safe certification, as well as what legal steps tenants can take to force remediation.”

The bill would require landlords with homes built before 1978 to provide evidence that the home has been declared lead-free at any point or lead-safe within the past year. 

For families in Washington, D.C., it’s not easy to determine if proper maintenance has been done to rid units of lead-based paint. 

The new bill has strict policies in place requiring remediation of any lead found in the home, and enhances residents ability to go the legal route and force their landlords to take action. In addition, the bill includes an ongoing fund to offer eligible landlords with financial assistance to complete the necessary repairs.

“For many District families, there’s not enough money in the monthly budget to test for lead in their home and then fight with a landlord to get it fixed. And breaking the lease and moving to a new home is even more difficult,” said Allen. 

Further, the health ramifications associated with children being exposed to lead is one of the major reasons Allen is pushing for this legislation.

“We know the effects of exposure to lead in children can have alarming consequences for that child’s development.”

Currently District law requires for young children to be tested twice before they are two years old, according to the Department of Energy and Environment Lead and Healthy Housing Division.