Maryland Rental Laws

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This article summarizes some key Maryland Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Application Fee: $25 Maximum
  • Written Lease Required: Yes, if Landlord offers 5 or more residential rental units in Maryland (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(1)).
  • Late Fees: Maximum 5% of rent due.  If weekly rentals, maximum of $3/week (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(d)(3)).
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Only under certain circumstances, see Md Real Property Code, 8-211.
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (Md Real Property Code, 8-207).
  • Tenant’s Right to Redeem (pay owed rent): Until the end of eviction trial (Md Real Property Code, 8-401).
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes, within reason.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: 3 months, except farm tenancies which is 6 months. In Montgomery County, 2 months notice is required except for single family homes. This is not applicable to Baltimore City (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: 1 month (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: 1 week (Md Real Property Code, Real Property, 8-402(b)(3)).
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: Required.  Tenant has a right to be present at inspection.
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 5 days
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 30 days, 14 days if there is a clear and imminent danger to tenant or other people (Md Real Property Code 402.1(a)(1)).
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Receipt of Deposit: Landlord must provide a receipt of any security deposit provided. This receipt can be documented in the lease and does not need to be a separate document (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(c)).
  • Required Notifications: Landlord must notify the tenant of (Md Real Property Code 8-203.1):
    (1) The right to have the dwelling unit inspected by the landlord in the tenant’s presence for the purpose of making a written list of damages that exist at the commencement of the tenancy if the tenant so requests by certified mail within 15 days of the tenant’s occupancy;
    (2) The right to be present when the landlord inspects the premises at the end of the tenancy in order to determine if any damage was done to the premises if the tenant notifies the landlord by certified mail at least 15 days prior to the date of the tenant’s intended move, of the tenant’s intention to move, the date of moving, and the tenant’s new address;
    (3) The landlord’s obligation to conduct the inspection within 5 days before or after the tenant’s stated date of intended moving;
    (4) The landlord’s obligation to notify the tenant in writing of the date of the inspection;
    (5) The tenant’s right to receive, by first-class mail, delivered to the last known address of the tenant, a written list of the charges against the security deposit claimed by the landlord and the actual costs, within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy;
    (6) The obligation of the landlord to return any unused portion of the security deposit, by first-class mail, addressed to the tenant’s last known address within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy; and
    (7) A statement that failure of the landlord to comply with the security deposit law may result in the landlord being liable to the tenant for a penalty of up to 3 times the security deposit withheld, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
  • Domestic Violence:
    • Tenant may terminate a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence (Md Real Property Code, 8-5A-02(a)(1,2)).
    • Landlords can require tenants to provide proof of domestic violence status from tenants. (Md Real Property Code, 8-5A-03 and 8-5A-04).
  • Right to Due Process: Landlord may not take possession of the leased premises, or the tenant’s personal property unless the lease has been terminated by action of the parties or by operation of law, and the personal property has been abandoned by the tenant without the benefit of formal legal process. (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(d)(6)).
  • Landlord must not take possession of premise, terminate a tenancy, increase rent, or decrease services to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, has involvement in a Tenant’s Organization, or file a lawsuit against the Landlord. Any such action will be considered a “retaliatory action” (Md Real Property Code, 208.1 (1-3)).

Court Related:

  • Small Claims Court Limits: $5,000
  • Eviction Cases Allowed: Yes, but claim amount must not exceed $5,000.

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.
  • Check the County Rental Registration Chart to see if you are required to register.

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