Maryland Rental Laws

Written on December 2, 2012 by , updated on August 30, 2018

Flag of MarylandThis 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


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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291 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Rachel

    My parents live in a retirement building have been there for 15 years. 2 weeks ago the exterminator came out and sprayed the apt upstairs for bed bugs. Now my parents noticed they have bed bugs a week ago. The landlord said the big man would be there last Monday. They man didn’t show up. A week late the big man was supposed to come. Didn’t come. Now they say he won’t be there til next week. They haven’t stayed in their apt now for a week and half. Shouldn’t their rent be prorated.

  • Mickel Williams

    Me and my boyfriend are moving in to our first apartment we have two dogs and was told that we had to pay 300 dollars per pet for the deposit and it wasn’t refundable and also had to pay the 30 dollar pet rent every month I just want to know if they are able to do so?


    I am currently renting a one bedroom apartment. My lease is up and they want to increase my rent by $125 more per month. Said that the increase is due to the going rate for their one bedrooms in the building now. In all my years of renting I have never had this much of an increase. Does MD have a state law for a cap of yearly rental increase in rental property. I have already argued them down from $125 to $75. Seems that they have all kinds of wiggle room.

  • Ernest Smith

    I have a ? What is the process in which the landlord sold house without notification and has hand written that she still expects us to pay rent this month when she sold it Oct 1st but said we have to vacate end of month

  • Deborah Pitter

    I just moved into -a two br 2 bath apt. in August2018. The first cold day In September I noticed no heat in bathrooms’ just recently went to Leasing office and was told no we do not have heat in any of our bathroom units. I was told to open my bedroom door to warm up my br. is this correct???

  • Cara

    Landlord of a recently purchased property, we got our first tenants moved in and come to find out they are having problems with their Comcast due to a previous tenant leaving an unpaid bill. The previous tenants were not living at the property when it was purchased. Are we as the property owner legally responsible for this debt for an elective service such as cable?

  • Martha Jones

    The apartment is uninhabitable due to flooding – he has no place to live
    What is the landlords responsibility to the tenant

  • Julia

    A friend has been told, by her landlord, she has to be out of the room she rents, by tomorrow since she did not get the place cleaned up as he asked her to do approximately 2 weeks ago. He keeps telling her that this is all being done by the health dept, not him but she has never been given any written notices from the health dept about her messy room or the eviction. Everything is word of mouth from the landlord who says he has the health dept papers but always left them home or in his truck but never produces them. She is on a month to month lease for a room with no windows in a house run on generator because BGE cut off electricity for nonpayment. The lights go off every 12 hours until more gas can be put in it. Do health dept do this?

  • pivaldess kennasius

    Hi,this is for Takoma park MD.
    I subleased to someone who is now owing three months rents and doesn’t show any signs of moving out.I served them with a written notice(which they refused to sign)to vacate the room more than three months ago.
    I took the problem to court but it’s taking much time and I still haven’t heart from them yet.
    It’s a month to month rent and just a verbal agreement on rents was made.
    Can i shut down electric in their room and the toilet to force them out?

  • Ellen Lafferty

    I have a Tenant who has movies out, but has left a lot of his belongings behind. He gave notice for nov 19 move date and has not paid the prorated amount of rent. When I asked if I could depose of his things, he threaten to call a lawyer. At what point can I take inventory and box up the remaining items foe storage. I live in Montgomery co MD.

    Thank you

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