Property owners must understand Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws. It is crucial for handling any legal issues and ensuring that your investment remains profitable.

Maryland state law deems that a rent agreement can be either agreed orally or by a written lease document. However, there are a few rights that are instantly established for both a tenant and a landlord, regardless of the rental agreement.

Tenants have the right to safe and habitable housing as well as the right to take certain measures of action. On the other hand, as a landlord, you have the right to collect rent on a timely, regular basis and to collect payments for damages greater than normal wear and tear.

The following article will walk you through an overview of Maryland landlord tenant law.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Maryland

Maryland Landlord Tenant law states that a landlord must disclose certain information to tenants. Failing to do so could result in legal complications. You must notify your tenant of the following:

  • Lead Concentration - For homes built before 1978, you must provide a disclosure of the concentration of lead-based paint used in the building. Homes built after that year are not required to report this information.
  • Contact Information - The names, business addresses, and contact information of the landlord, owner, or other authorized agents should be disclosed.

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  • Tenant's Security Deposit Receipts - According to Maryland law, landlords must include all receipts of tenant security deposits with the lease agreement. After the lease expires and the tenant has moved out, you must return the security deposit within 45 days. Any deductions made, such as unpaid rent or damages, must be listed as well.
  • Habitability - The condition of the unit in regard to safety and habitation must be stated in the rental agreement.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Maryland

Maryland rules governing landlord tenant law states that a tenant has the right to:

  • A safe, sanitary and livable dwelling
  • Enjoy their space in peace and quiet
  • Access to essential utilities
  • Fair treatment as the Maryland Fair Housing Act stipulates
  • Protection from improper evictions
  • End the lease early for legally justified reasons, such as active military duty or an uninhabitable unit
  • Take action if their repair requests are not completed within 30 days.
  • Be provided the aforementioned disclosures.

The following are the basic tenant responsibilities. A tenant must:

  • Pay rent on time and have no unpaid rent.
  • Perform their duties to keep the property safe and in a good condition
  • Keep the property and fixtures clean and sanitary
  • Make small repairs and maintenance as needed
  • Not disturb or create trouble with neighbors or other tenants

Maryland Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

The Maryland landlord rights are as follows:

  • Collect rent payments on time and on a regular basis
  • Demand payment for property damages that exceed normal wear and tear
  • Enter the property when necessary, even without permission, unless lease provisions state otherwise

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Landlords in Maryland have the responsibility to:

  • Provide a habitable dwelling
  • Address all requested repairs within a reasonable time frame, typically 30 days
  • Provide tenants with access to utilities
  • Follow the legal eviction procedure in Maryland
  • Comply with all health and building codes that apply to the property

An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Maryland

Tenant Privacy and Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling

In Maryland, there is no set standard on landlord entry notification. Landlords can enter the rental unit without permission, especially for emergencies, unless otherwise stated in the rental agreement. It’s recommended that landlords and tenants have an agreement regarding the entry notification procedures.

Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs

It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep their rental units habitable. But what exactly does habitable housing look like? These are some characteristics of a habitable unit, according to property laws:

  • Provides heat, light, electricity, and hot or cold running water
  • Has adequate sewage disposal facilities
  • Does not have an infestation of rodents or other pests
  • No unsafe structural defects
  • Absent of any health or fire hazards

Maryland’s Housing Discrimination Laws

According to the Fair Housing Rules, it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against a renter based on disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, age, national origin, marital status, religion, color, or race.

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Small Claims Lawsuits

Small claims courts will hear rent-related disputes - valued up to $5,000 - between tenants and landlords. Higher value cases will need to be brought up to the state’s district court.

These disputes typically include eviction or security deposits. There is a 3-year statute of limitations for both oral and written contracts.

Rent Increase

Maryland landlord tenant law prohibits rent control and has no law stating the specified amount of time to notify the tenant of a rent increase. However, you will want to check the local ordinances as they may state timeframes to be followed.

With this said, landlords cannot break or change the lease agreement within the lease term. Only once the rental lease is expired or up for renewal, landlords may increase the rent.

Bottom Line

Maintaining the quality of your rental unit as well as the landlord tenant relationship is critical to your success as a Maryland landlord.

However, staying updated to all of the state and city laws can be time-consuming and difficult. We can help! If you have specific questions about Maryland Landlord Tenant law, reach out to the property management experts at American Dream Realty and Management at 443-640-0090.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.