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
- Code of Maryland and Rules – Title 8, Real Property – Landlord and Tenant
- General Assembly Statutes
- General Assembly Statutes – Real Property (pdf)
- The People’s Law of Maryland – Landlord/Tenant
- Takoma Park Municipal Code – Housing – Title 6
- Takoma Park Municipal Code – Landlord-Tenant Relations (Chapter 6.16)
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
- Rent Is Due: No statute.
- Rent Increase Notice: No statute.
- Rent Grace Period: No statute.
- Application Fee: $25 maximum (Md Real Property Code, 8-213(b)(1)(i)).
- Written Lease Required: Yes, if the landlord rents five residential rental units, or more, in Maryland (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(1)).
- Late Fees: Landlords may charge a late fee that cannot exceed 5% of the rent due. If weekly rentals, a maximum late fee of $3 per week can be charged (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(d)(3)).
- Prepaid Rent: No statute.
- Returned Check Fees: Not more than $35 (Md Commercial Law, 15-803(a)).
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes. See Md Real Property Code, 8-211.
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Only under certain circumstances. See Md Real Property Code, 8-211.
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes, within reason (Md Real Property Code, 8-401(c)(2)(v)(3)).
- 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).
Evictions in Maryland
- 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.
- 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:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords that own homes built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint used in the building.
- 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.
- 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 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.
State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Maryland
- Maryland Insurance Administration
- Maryland Guide to Home Owners Insurance (PDF)
- Maryland Department of Housing and Community Services
- Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies
- Takoma Park – Landlord Tenant Issues
- Montgomery County Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs
- Montgomery County – Landlord Tenant Handbook (PDF)
- Maryland Real Estate Commission
- Public Housing Agency Websites–HUD
- Anne Arundel County Housing Commission
- Baltimore City Housing Authority
- Baltimore County Housing Office
- Calvert County Housing Authority
- Carroll County Bureau of Housing
- Cumberland Housing Authority
- Elkton Housing Authority
- Frederick Housing Authority
- Hagerstown Housing Authority
- Harford County Housing Agency
- Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission
- Office of Housing–City of Westminster
- Queen Anne’s County Housing Authority
- St. Mary’s County Housing Authority
- Washington County Housing Authority
Realtor and Landlord/Tenant Associations
- Maryland Association of REALTORS®
- Anne Arundel County Association of REALTORS®
- Bay Area Association of REALTORS®
- Coastal Association of REALTORS®
- Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS®
- Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®
- Howard County Association of REALTORS®
- Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS®
- Landlords & Property Owners Association of Washington County Maryland, Inc.
- Maryland Multi-Housing Association
- Carroll County Landlord Association
- Cecil County Landlords’ Association
- BNI – Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc.
- Housing Policy Watch
- Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition
- Renters United–Maryland Communities United