A new Maryland law three years in the making has landlords flustered, according to Durability + Design, a coatings industry newsletter: The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, requires all residential rental properties built before 1978 to be registered. The registration cost is $30 per property and must be renewed annually. Once registered, those properties must be inspected and issued a "Full Risk Reduction Certificate," which informs tenants that any lead risk on the premises has been abated. The certificate must be renewed with each change of occupancy.

Whether or not this law sets a precedent for other states is still unclear. But it's curious to note that the existing RRP regs evolved from legislation enacted by the City of Baltimore, which served as a model for state legislation first encted in Massachuttes, followed by Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and New Jersey, before becoming a federal requirement under the EPA. An early account of lead paint regulations in the Journal of Light Construction decribes this evolution of law and explores some of the shaky premises on which today's reguations were built.