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Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws

Maryland Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Maryland landlords.  We summarize key Maryland Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Maryland Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Maryland.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Maryland

Maryland landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly. There are 6.0 million residents in Maryland.  Major metropolitan markets in Maryland are:

  1. Baltimore: Estimated population of 2,800,053, which 33% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,241.
  2. Cumberland: Estimated population of 97,284, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $664.
  3. Hagerstown: Estimated population of 288,104, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $923.
  4. Salisbury: Estimated population of 415,726, which 25% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $948.

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN MARYLAND

 

Does Maryland require security deposits? 

Maryland does not require security deposits.  Landlords must keep all records for at least 2 years.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Maryland? 

Maryland requires landlords to provide a receipt for security deposit and rent payments.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(c))

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Maryland? 

Maryland limits the maximum security deposit to 2 months of rent. (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(b)(1))

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Maryland: 

Security deposits must be kept in a federally insured financial institution.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(d)(1)(i))

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Maryland? 

Landlords are not allowed to commingle.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Maryland? 

Maryland requires landlords to pay interest on deposits.  Interest rates are the greater of 1.5% or the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rates for 1 year.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(e)(1))

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Maryland? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 45 days after the termination of tenancy.  Tenants who purchased a surety bond can request an inspection, by certified mail, within 15 days of the tenant’s occupancy.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(g))

 

When can a landlord in Maryland withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(i)(4)(v)):

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Excessive damage to the rental unit or premises
  • Violating the lease agreement

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No statute for pet deposits.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages with a statement of the cost actually incurred.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(g))

What happens to Maryland landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Landlords who fail to comply shall forfeit their to their right to withhold any portion of security deposit.  If landlord fails to return deposits within 45 days, the tenant can sue for 3 times the amount withheld, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-203(e)(4))

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN MARYLAND

 

Rental agreements required in Maryland:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer or landlords with 5 or more rental units in the state.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications. If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Maryland rental lease agreement.

What are the required lease provisions in Maryland?

Maryland requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list (Md Real Property Code, 8-208):

  • MUST INCLUDE:  Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • MUST INCLUDE:  Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • MUST INCLUDE:  Condition of the property and premises
  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenant authorize any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the lease agreement
  • Tenant agrees to waive their rights
  • Late fees that exceed 5% of rent amount
  • Tenant waives their right to a jury trial
  • Tenant agrees to a shorter period for Notice to Quit
  • Authorizes the landlord to take possession of the leased property, including tenant’s personal property, except for termination or abandonment
  • Provision that is against public policy and voids 8-105
  • Permits landlord to commence an eviction proceeding or issue a notice to quit based on acts defined as retaliation

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Maryland: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Landlords must provide at least a 3 months notice, sent via first class mail.  It is recommended for landlords to include a termination date in the lease agreement. (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3)) Month-to-Month: At least 1 month. (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent. Week-to-Week: At least 1 week. (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(b)(3))

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Maryland allows landlords to hold tenants who hold over beyond expiration or termination to be liable for actual damages, brought on by a suit separate from the eviction or removal proceeding.  The damages awarded may not be less than the apportioned rent for the period of holdover.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-402(a)(1))

Does the lease automatically renew in Maryland? 

Leases with a fixed end date in the lease will expire.

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Maryland has no grace period for late rent.  Landlords can proceed with charging late fees the day after rent was due.

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN MARYLAND

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords cannot charge more than 5% of the monthly rent due.  The late fee needs to be stated in the lease agreement. (Md Real Property Code, 8-208(d)(3))

 

MARYLAND LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

In Maryland, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Maryland?

Maryland allows landlords to immediately start the eviction proceeding, even without a Pay or Quit notice.  Once a compliant has been filed with the District Court, the sheriffs will inform the tenants they have 5 days to respond to the landlords complaint.  If the tenant does not respond or answer the summons from sheriff, the landlord automatically wins the case even without a trial.

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 30 day notice to remedy or quit. If the behavior of the tenant demonstrates a clear and imminent danger, landlords can provide a 14 day’s written notice.  (Md Real Property Code 402.1(a)(2))

Maryland allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

No Statute.         How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities? No Statute.

MARYLAND LAWS ON REPAIRS

Maryland requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice and allow the landlord reasonable time for needed repairs.  There is a rebuttable presumption that more than 30 days is unrasonable.  Notice must be sent in writing by certified mail  with a return receipt requested. (Md Real Property Code, 8-211)

 

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Maryland allows tenants to pay rent into a rent escrow with the court, or may refuse to pay rent and raise the issues as an action for distress for rent.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-211)

MARYLAND LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include:

  • Repair and eliminate conditions that are a fire hazard or serious threat to life, health or safety of occupants
  • Provide heat, light, electricity or hot or cold running water when it is not the tenant’s responsibility
  • Provide adequate sewage disposal facilities
  • Prevent infestation of rodents in two or more dwelling units
  • Correct any structural defects that are serious and substantial threat
  • Prevent any condition that presents a health or fire hazard

According to (Md Real Property Code, 8-211)

MARYLAND TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

MARYLAND EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Maryland, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks.

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot change locks.

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages. (Md Real Property Code, 8-207)

MARYLAND LAWS ON RETALIATION

Maryland laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents, terminate a periodic tenancy or threaten to bring an action of possession when:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

Maryland defines a period of 6 months that would result in a retaliatory action. Tenants may be rewarded the equivalent of 3 months rent, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.  (Md Real Property Code, 208.1 (1-3))

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

A landlord cannot discriminate against prospective tenants or tenants because they have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.

Verify Claim:

A landlord is allowed to verify claim of Domestic Violence. (Md Real Property Code, 8-5A-02(e))

Can a tenant terminate the least if they are a victim of domestic violence: 

Maryland state law says a tenant with proof of Domestic Violence status is allowed with 30 days notice and include a copy of the tenant’s restraining order or peace order.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-5A-02(b))

Who is responsible for Recovery of Losses: 

No Statute.

Must Landlords Change Locks:

Once a landlord has received a request from the tenant, a landlord must change within 24 hours the locks.  Cost of the lock is at the tenant’s expense.  The tenants can change locks themselves but must provide a set of keys and follow state procedure.  (Md Real Property Code, 8-5A-06(a))

 

 

MARYLAND LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

Maryland does not have any statewide laws regarding locks.  Tenants may not change the lock without giving notice and providing a set of keys within 48 hours.  A victim is allowed 72 hours.

MARYLAND PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

DO LANDLORDS IN MARYLAND NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

According to Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Maryland. Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws. Baltimore in particular has regulations for licensing.

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN MARYLAND

Do landlords in Maryland have to provide notice of entry? 

Maryland does not require landlords to provide any notice.  However, it is recommended that landlords provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

No Statute.

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

No Statute.

Can landlords enter for showings?

No Statute.

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

No Statute.

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

MARYLAND SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  There are no state laws, the lease agreement governs the terms.

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN MARYLAND

Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any statutes declaring procedure for holding or storing terminated or abandoned tenants possessions.  Generally, landlords should hold onto the property for at least 30 days and attempt to notify the tenant at their last location.  We suggest holding onto the records for at least 12 months.

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR MARYLAND LEASES

Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:   Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Maryland

MARYLAND RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

Maryland Small Claims Court Limits:

$5,000 is the limit for small claims court.

Maryland Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes, as long as it does not exceed $,5000. Maryland Small Claims Court Maryland District Courts Maryland District Courts – Landlord Tenant Issues Maryland Attorney General Maryland State Bar Association Maryland Insurance Administration

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