Property owners must understand the Maryland landlord tenant laws. The Maryland real estate laws are crucial for handling any legal issues and ensuring that your investment remains profitable.
Local laws deem that a rental agreements can be either agreed orally or by a written lease document. However, there are a few rights that are instantly established for both Maryland tenants and landlords, regardless of the rental agreement, such as a landlord's right for the tenant to pay rent on time and a tenant's right to live in a safe home.
According to the Maryland law, 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 have a timely rent collection process, regular basis and to collect payments for damages greater than normal wear and tear apart from the security deposit.
The following article will walk landlords through an overview of Maryland landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Maryland
Maryland law states that a landlord must disclose certain information to tenants. Failing to do so could result in legal complications. Landlords must notify their tenants of the following:
- Lead Concentration - For properties built before 1978, landlords must provide a disclosure of the concentration of lead-based paint used in the building to a tenant to remain in accordance with rental laws. Homes built after that year are not required to report this information under the law
- Contact Information - The names, business addresses, and contact information of the landlord, owner, or other authorized agents should be disclosed to renters.
- Tenant's Security Deposit Receipts - According to Maryland landlord-tenant laws, landlords must include all receipts of tenant security deposits with the lease agreements. After the agreements expire and the tenant has moved out, landlords must return the security deposit within 45 days. Any deductions to the security deposits, such as unpaid rent or damages, must be listed as well.
- Habitability - The condition of the property 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 if they provide the proper notice
- Take action if their repair requests are not completed within 30 days.
- Be provided the aforementioned disclosures
- Withhold rent if a landlord becomes negligent
- Be safe from landlord retaliation
- Be provided written notice of eviction if a lease violation has been committed
The following are the basic tenant responsibilities. A tenant must:
- Have little to no late rent payments and have no unpaid rent
- Perform their duties to keep the rental property safe and in a good condition
- Keep the rented property and fixtures clean and sanitary
- Make small repairs and maintenance as needed
- Not disturb or create trouble with neighbors or other tenants
- Pay the security deposit (usually two months' rent) in full before moving in
Maryland Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
The landlord rights in Maryland are as follows:
- Collect each rent payment promptly and on a regular basis. Late fees can be used as incentives.
- Demand payment for property damages that exceed normal wear and tear
- Enter the property when necessary, even without permission, unless lease provisions state otherwise
- Ask for security deposits (usually an advance of two months' rent)
Landlords under Maryland law 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
If a landlord decides not to comply or the landlord fails to comply with any regulation, including, say, not acknowledging the receival of a security deposit, it could spell trouble. If a tenant pays rent on time and in full and the leased property is well maintained, landlords want to keep their tenants happy.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Maryland
Tenant Privacy and Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling
Under Maryland state law, 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 lease 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 properties habitable. But what exactly does habitable housing look like? These are some characteristics of a habitable unit, according to property landlord-tenant 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 prospective tenants based on disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, age, national origin, marital status, religion, color, or race.
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 local district court.
These disputes typically include eviction or security deposits. There is a 3-year statute of limitations for both oral and written contracts.
Maryland has rent control laws in place to prohibit a landlord to unfairly raise the rent and has no law stating the specified amount of time to notify the tenant of a rent increase. However, landlords will want to check the local ordinances as they may state timeframes to be followed.
Maintaining the quality of your property as well as the landlord tenant relationship is critical to your success as a Maryland rental owner.
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 Baltimore 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.