The state of Maryland is renewing its efforts to combat lead poisoning from lead paint—sort of.

As of January 1, 2015, all rental properties built before 1978 (when lead paint was banned) must comply with the state’s already existing “Lead Law.” The law includes registering rental units within 30 days of acquisition (for a $30 registration fee), distributing educational information to tenants and meeting risk reduction standards, among other things.

Baltimore’s ABC2 reported last September that hundreds of Maryland children are diagnosed with lead poisoning each year.

Robert M. Summers, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), says the new rules should reduce those numbers.

“Maryland has made significant gains to protect our children, particularly those who live in older rental housing. But a significant number of lead poisoning cases in Maryland are linked to newer rental housing,” he says. “The change in Maryland’s lead law will allow us to prevent more children from suffering the effects of lead poisoning. We cannot, and will not, let up in our work to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in our state.”

Prior to the new year, the law only required properties built before 1950 to meet the requirements.

According to a MDE press release, failure to register, certify or follow approved lead-safe work practices could subject property owners to thousands of dollars in fines and potential lawsuits.

“Registering these properties helps protect your tenants and your families from the health risks associated with lead paint poisoning. It’s the right thing to do,” Summers says.

You can read the full summary of compliance requirements here.

UPDATE: Department officials say they have experienced such a high volume of calls that they are not able to respond to them all. If landlords leave a voicemail or send an email with their name, number, mailing address and email address, they will not be fined within 30 days of that contact attempt. Find out more here.

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