State Rules and Regulations for Maryland Rental Properties and Landlords

In Maryland, a lease agreement can be either written or oral. According to Maryland law (ACM Tit. 12 Subtit. 2 Sec. 12-203), tenants in a lease agreement are automatically granted certain rights, such as the right to a habitable dwelling and the right to take some forms of alternative action.

Landlords also have certain rights, such as the right to collect rent on a regular basis and the right to collect for damages to property that exceed normal wear and tear.

Maryland Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposits in Maryland

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 2 months’ rent.
  • Time Limit for Returns – 45 days.
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – Maryland landlords who wrongfully withhold a security deposit may be required to forfeit the deposit and associated interest. The law does not specify who gains a claim on the deposit afterward.
  • Allowable Deductions – Unpaid rent, repairs for damages that exceed normal wear and tear, offset other damages from a lease violation.

Lease, Rent & Fees Under Maryland Law

Evictions in Maryland

  1. Nonpayment of rent/lease violation – Maryland does not have separate notification procedures for late rental payments and lease violations. In both cases, the landlord may issue a 14-Day Notice with terms on how to cure the infraction. If the terms of the notice are not met, then the landlord may proceed with eviction.
  2. Illegal acts – If a tenant is engaging in behavior that presents a “clear and present” danger to the property at large, then the landlord may issue a 14-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit. The landlord does not have to give the tenant a chance to fix their behavior.

At-will tenants are entitled to receive at least 1 month’s advance notice if they rent on a month-to-month basis. It is illegal for Maryland landlords to evict a tenant in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.

Notices and Entry Under Maryland Law

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply ends.
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: Three months. In the case of farm tenancies, notice can be given in six months. In Montgomery County, two months’ notice is required, with the exception of 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: One month (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: One week (Md Real Property Code, Real Property, 8-402(b)(3)).
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: Required. Tenants have the right to be present at inspection.
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment of Rent: Five days.
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 30 days. If there is a clear and imminent danger to tenants or other people, the notice can be given within 14 days (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.
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute.
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute.
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (Md Real Property Code 8-216).
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. (Md Real Property Code 8-211 and Md Real Property Code 8-216).

Mandatory Disclosures in Maryland

Maryland landlords are required to make the following mandatory disclosures:

  1. Lead-based paint. Landlords that own homes built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint used in the building.
  2. Right to Initial and Final Inspection. Landlords must inform tenants that they have the right to an in-person inspection before signing a lease. Tenants may request these inspections at least 5 days before their move-in date.
  3. Right to Receive Itemized Deductions. Maryland landlords must disclose a tenant’s right to receive an itemized list of deductions upon their moving out inspection.

Housing Discrimination in Maryland

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, or disability. These laws do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. State law adds additional protection for individuals on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Discriminatory acts & penalties. Enforcement of housing discrimination laws is overseen by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. They have highlighted the following actions as potentially discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected group:

  • Refusing to rent or sell to a qualified buyer
  • Using discriminatory terms of conditions in a lease
  • Advertisements that indicate a preference for or against certain groups
  • Falsely denying unit availability
  • Steering prospective tenants into certain neighborhoods
  • Inquiring about birth control or other family planning practices
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations

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.

Helpful Links

State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor and Landlord/Tenant Associations

These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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