Maryland Rental Laws

Written on December 2, 2012 by , updated on February 12, 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

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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275 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Christopher R Wharton

    Hi,

    I am a tenant in a rental townhouse designated as an Oxford House”. (Sober Living) We have 5 residents on a year to year lease. Today we received a notice to vacate in 30 days as the owner does not want to renew the Lease on August 1, 2017. Is it 30 days or 3 months ?

    Many Thanks !

    • Mary

      I believe it can vary, but I believe that 30 days is standard; though, I have never worked with/for a sober living community before, so their rules and regulations may vary.

  • Dawn

    My fiance and I rented a townhouse the beginning of April and it’s been a nightmare since the beginning. The house sat empty for a year prior to us moving in and the landlord is just getting into the rental part of his company. He’s usually buys dump properties for cash. Every time we’ve asked for a repair to be made, were met with an attuidue. We were just emailed by the landlord telling us we had 30 days to move out. He claims we violated our lease because our minor daughter stays with us off and on. He also did an inspection without notice and took pictures of our bedrooms. Would be have a chance in court if we went after him?

    • Mary

      Unfortunately, there is no law against a landlord giving you attitude, as long as they address the issue presented. If they give you attitude and ignore the problem, that’s different.
      It would depend on the situation- how old is your daughter? How frequently does she stay with you?
      It is legal for a landlord to enter your dwelling unit without prior notice in some instances. In this case, it was likely to conduct a pre-move out inspection, in order to ascertain approximately how much work would be necessary in order to turn the unit (make it ready for the next tenant). If you feel that your rights have been violated, your best bet would be to request a copy of your signed lease agreement (which should stipulate when entry is authorized).

  • Cami

    Hello,

    My daughter rented a house in PG Co. and moved in 7/11/2017. On 7/25/2017 she received a notice from a broker saying the house was foreclosed and she had to vacate by 7/28/2017. My daughter paid $8,400 (1 mo. rent + 2 mo. sec deposit) to get in this home. The broker offered her $2500 to vacate by 7/28/2017. the problem is she has no lace to go with 5 kids and she put all she had into this house. What are her options? if she has any.

    • Mary

      Since I am not aware of all of the facts surrounding the matter, it is difficult to say, but it sounds very suspicious. I would advise that you ask for a copy of the signed lease document, and consult a lawyer.

  • Ricana

    I was told by the current management company that the previous management company charge me incorrectly in rent for my unit now they’re trying to increase my rent by 300 plus dollars more a month.

    Are they allowed to do this in Anne Arundel County Maryland and would like to know is there a maximum amount that a landlord can charge in an increase when you it’s time to renew your lease in Anne Arundel County.

    • Mary

      You should check your signed lease agreement. Are they attempting to increase your monthly rental payment amount in the middle of your lease term, or was your original lease approaching expiration, and the renewal rate was higher? I believe that if they increased your rent amount during your current lease term, that would be a breach of contract, and therefore illegal. However, if you are approaching the end of the lease term and are up for renewal, you should expect an increase. Currently, I believe that there is not a cap on the amount that a tenant’s rental amount can be increased, although I am not 100% certain.

  • Stephen

    Hi. Just bought a house, but had 4 months left on a 2yr lease. My lease says 60 days notice plus I pay lost rent if they cannot re-lease it after that. The issue is that the owner wants to sell it. I moved out and the house is completely empty so the owner could renovate and list for sale. They say if no offer in 2 weeks, they will also list for rent. The manager said I have to cover utilities and rent until the sale closes (which could obviously be more than 60 days) or until they rent it. Is this correct? Do I have any way out of this lease after 60 days? Also, if not, could I stop paying rent once the remaining lease payments equal the deposit and let him net it against the deposit? Thank you.

  • Nicole

    After checking with our housing lawyer the information provided on small claims and eviction cases is incorrect.

    There are no caps on eviction claims.

  • Jim

    New rental- landlord gave me a list of repairs in return for first months rent. Within the first 30 days now- water heater failed (I fixed it), seeer drain field failed (landlord rented a backhoe, had me dig one trench to bury one new pipe), and found a flea infestation in crawl space. No main source of heat other than unvented propane heater downstairs, and several in wall small electric heaters upstairs. I did repairs with understanding repairs go towards rent, now he demands this month rent or start eviction process- HELP ME!!!!

  • MiMi

    I had a two year lease in Frederick County. It was “renewed” for two years, but I never got anything signed from my landlord. Two months into this “renewal” I gave 60 day notice. They are saying I am responsible for rent for the rest of the “renewal” until property is rented. I learned that they have property also for sale. Since I never got a signed renewal from my landlord I assumed we were in a month to month. Am I wrong? Can the landlord hold me responsible for rent?

  • Faith

    Are landlords allowed to do a complete construction on a unit in a busy building on a holiday weekend?

    • Mary

      Yes, as long as they are not operating within “quiet hours” (if your community has designated quiet hours).

  • M. Lundy

    Greetings,

    Is there a law or regulation in Baltimore County, MD that determines/dictates the temperature of water coming from a hot water tank in an apartment building? Thanks in advance.

  • Kimmie

    If a security deposit is placed in an interest bearing account by a property manager, then the owner switches property management companies, who receives the interest earned on that money?

  • Kera

    I have a 6 month lease with my tenant. After about 3 days being moved in she created some new extension to the lease for me to sign, stuff about not being responsible for my kids and other crazy stuff. All based off of her previous experiences with other tenants. I feel like she has branded me the criminal she thinks im gonna turn out to be. I have texts where ashe mistakenly sent me talking to her daughter about it she should just put me out because “you just dont know what ppl will do”. I have been here 3 months so far and paid my rent a week before it was due each time. This month i told her I would be late. She nhas been harassing me every since. She even had her daughter contact me trying to speak for her. Its driving me nuts.

  • Deanna

    My best friend is renting a room. The landlord is telling her that her and her 3 month old baby has to move out of the bedroom and into the living room and that he is allowed to do this because he is not making her leave the property. Can he do this or does he need to go through the proper paperwork to do so??

  • Anthony

    I rent an apartment in Baltimore City. Today I noticed that the top lock was locked which meant that someone has been in my apartment while I was at work. Does the landlord have to at least inform me that they have entered my apartment?

    • Mary

      Strictly speaking, landlords are not required to give notice before entry, and they are allowed to enter with out notice for such things as maintenance, repairs, and pesticide use. However, if you feel that your rights have been violated, I would recommend requesting and reviewing a copy of your signed lease document.

  • D

    I rented a house to young man who did not have a dog on the lease but later got a dog (maybe 2, and they are large). He just left and the place smells and is more worn, I think, than I could expect for one person (without a dog). Also, he had 3 vehicles on the lawn for 1.5 years and a large pool on the grass, so the grass is dead in those large spots. There is also a large red stain on the carpet. The laminate flooring in two rooms was new when he moved in and now has to be replaced.

    Is this all considered “normal wear and tear”? And can I legitimately withhold the deposit due to the dog?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi D,

      I wouldn’t consider carpet stains or grass destruction as normal wear and tear.

    • Mary

      This is why many landlords include a monthly “pet rent” and an additional security deposit per pet. Any damage caused by the pet (including any cleaning fee resulting from pet odor) can be billed to the tenant or withheld from the security deposit, UNLESS the pet is a service animal. (Different states have different rules and regulations regarding service animals and support animals; please be sure to check your local laws so as to avoid violating any Fair Housing laws.)

  • Richard fields

    If I have my fiancé and my daughter in my apartment with me and are not on the lease can they be made to leave or can I ask my leasing office to grant them occupancy and if I request it is there anything that would stop them from allowing it even if I have another person on the lease?

  • Yvonne

    We have a tenant that passed away recently. She was the only person living there without a lease.
    We have discovered that members of her family have moved in without us knowing. What options do we have as a landlord. No rent has been paid since the tenants death.

  • Ashok Sahu

    Hi,

    We are on a month to month lease, we bought a home and want to move out in a month. But landlord is saying there is 60 day notice period even for month to month lease, which does not make sense at all.

    Even in the past I had verbally confirmed with some representative working in the leasing office that I just need 30 day notice for month-to-month, but they are now saying thats not what written in the lease.

    For regular lease 60 day notice can make sense. What can I do, we can only give one month notice.

  • ELIZABETH HODGES

    My husband, 14 yr old son & myself have been living at a hotel in Anne Arundel County, MD since 7-4-2017. Our mailing address w USPS is the hotel address. Because of a billing mistake they charged a credit card 2x of someone who helped us in the past. They corrected the error leaving us owing over $1,400. We intend to pay it but can the hotel evict us without sufficient notice. We are technically residents.

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