Maryland Rental Laws - An Overview of Landlord-Tenant Rights

Owning a rental property in Maryland can be very lucrative. What’s more, rental property investing can enable you to diversify your investment portfolio.

That said, being a landlord comes with a number of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is ensuring that you abide by Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws at all times.

Maryland landlord-tenant laws are in place to establish the laws and statutes governing the rental of residential units. They highlight the rights and responsibilities each party has to the lease agreement.

If you want to learn more about Maryland landlord-tenant laws keep reading.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Maryland

You must make certain disclosures to your tenants in Maryland. If you fail to do so, your tenant can move out without further obligations to the lease.

The following are the 3 disclosures every Maryland landlord must make to their tenants:

  • Lead-based paint. If you own a home that was built before 1978 you must provide the tenant with information regarding any use of lead-based paint in the building.
  • Initial and final inspection. Maryland tenants have a right to initial and final inspection. So, as a landlord, you must inform them about it even before they sign the lease.
  • Itemized deductions. As a landlord, you have a right to make full or partial deductions to a tenant’s security deposit. In doing so, however, you must notify your tenant about the deductions via an itemized list.

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Tenant Rights & Responsibilities in Maryland

Accord to Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws, renters have the following rights. The right to:

  • The peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their rental.
  • Live in a property that abides by the state’s safety and health codes.
  • Remain in the property until the landlord has followed the proper judicial eviction process.
  • Be notified when the landlord is looking to make changes to the lease agreement.
  • Be notified by the landlord upon receipt of their rent and security deposit.
  • Withhold payment of rent until the landlord has fixed issues that threaten their safety and health.

When it comes to responsibilities, Maryland renters have a responsibility to:

  • Notify the landlord when maintenance issues occur.
  • Notify the landlord when looking to vacate their premises at the end of the lease.
  • Adhere to all terms of the lease agreement, including payment of rent and caring for the unit.
  • Maintain reasonable noise levels.
  • Let their landlord know when they are going out of town for an extended time period.

Landlord Rights & Responsibilities in Maryland

Maryland landlord-tenant laws also afford landlords certain rights and responsibilities under the lease. Landlords have a right to:

  • Receive proper notice from a tenant who is looking to leave after the expiry of their lease agreement.
  • Be notified in the event a tenant wants to make alterations to the unit. For example, repaint the unit.
  • Be notified whenever a tenant is looking to go out of town for an extended period of time.
  • Enter rented premises to carry out important landlord responsibilities. Such responsibilities include making repairs and showing the unit to prospective tenants, buyers, or lenders.

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Similarly, landlords in Maryland have a responsibility to:

  • Provide and maintain a habitable dwelling.
  • Make all requested repairs within a reasonable time frame. If you fail to do so, your tenant can make the repairs themselves and then deduct the costs from future rent payments.
  • Notify their tenants when looking to make changes to the lease agreement.
  • Treat all tenants respectfully, fairly, and equally in accordance with the Fair Housing Law.
  • Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Abide by the state's security deposit rules. For instance, charge their tenants a security deposit of not more than 2X the rent amount.
  • Follow the proper judicial eviction process when evicting a tenant.

Landlord-Tenant Laws in Maryland

Fair Housing Laws

As a landlord, it’s illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on any one of their protected characteristics. Protected characteristics in Maryland include race, color, ancestry, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and marital status.

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights oversees the enforcement of housing discrimination laws. The following are some actions that the commission highlights as being discriminatory:

  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations.
  • Inquiring about birth control or other family planning practices.
  • Steering prospective tenants into certain neighborhoods.
  • Falsely stating that units aren’t available.
  • Advertisements that indicate a preference for or against certain groups.
  • Using discriminatory terms or conditions in a lease agreement.
  • Refusing to rent or sell to a qualified buyer.

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Security Deposits

Maryland’s security deposit laws are pretty detailed. They help define important aspects when it comes to the handling of security deposits. One aspect the law defines is the security deposit limit. Maryland landlords must charge no more than 2X the monthly rent as a security deposit.

Maryland landlords must also store tenants’ security deposits in a certain manner. Specifically, they must not commingle tenants’ deposits with other funds. And when it comes to returning the deposits, they must do so within 45 days of the tenant moving out.

Landlord Entry

Maryland has yet to pass any legislation regarding the amount of notice a landlord must provide their tenants prior to accessing their tenants’ units. As such, you’re free to enter your tenant’s unit without permission – unless the lease states otherwise.

Landlords may need to enter a tenant’s unit for any of the following reasons:

  • To perform needed or requested repairs.
  • To perform a move-out inspection prior to a tenant moving out.
  • To make improvements or aesthetic changes to the unit.
  • To provide essential services
  • To show the unit to prospective tenants, buyers, or lenders.
  • Under court orders.
  • In the event, the tenant has abandoned the unit.

Summary

Landlord-tenant laws are in place to dictate both the tenant's and the landlord's rights and responsibilities. It is your responsibility as a landlord to stay informed of these laws and any changes to them.

Keeping up with these laws in addition to your day-to-day responsibilities can be quite time-consuming. Consider hiring the services of a trusted property management company like Wayson Enterprises!

Disclaimer: This content is only meant to be informational. Laws change and this blog may not be updated at the time of your reading. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or hire an experienced property management company.

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