*Notice – The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
Owning a rental property in Maryland can be a lucrative investment decision. Besides helping diversify your portfolio, you also set yourself up for earning a passive income for many years to come.
It does have its fair share of challenges, though. This is especially true if you’re just starting out. As a landlord, you should have a basic understanding of Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws. A basic understanding of these laws will help you get the most out of your investment.
What’s more, it’ll also help your tenants get a better renting experience. As you probably know, happy tenants mean a happy you!
In today’s article, we’ll take you through a basic overview of the state’s landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Maryland
As a Maryland landlord, there are 3 important disclosures that you need to make before renting your property out.
One, if your property was built before 1950, you must let your tenant know this. The law requires you to tell your tenant of any lead-based hazards on the property by giving them a copy of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
Two, you must inform your tenant of their right to an in-person inspection before signing the lease. There is one caveat, though: the tenant must request the inspection at least 5 days prior to their move-in date.
Three, you must disclose that they have a right to receive an itemized list of deductions after a move-out inspection.
Maryland Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
In Maryland, renters have certain basic rights, such as a right to:
- Remain in the residence until the landlord has followed the proper eviction procedure to evict them.
- Live in a safe and habitable property.
- Get notified whenever the landlord seeks to make a change to the lease or rental agreement.
- Get receipts for rent or deposits.
- Enjoy the peace and quiet of their property.
- Withhold further rent payments if their life, health or safety is threatened.
As for responsibilities, Maryland tenants have a duty to:
- Notify the landlord in writing when looking to vacate the premises.
- Adhere to all terms of the lease or rental agreement, including paying rent on time.
- Maintain reasonable noise levels.
- Inform the landlord whenever there is a maintenance issue.
- Let the landlord know when they will be away for an extended period of time.
- Take good care of the property.
Maryland Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
Much in the same way tenants have rights, landlords do also have some rights accorded to them by the statewide law. As a Maryland landlord, you have a right to:
- Be served a written notice by a tenant seeking to move out.
- Be notified by a tenant seeking to make changes to the rental unit. For instance, repainting the property.
- Get a notification from a tenant looking to go out of town for an extended period of time.
- Be allowed to enter the rented premises to carry out important responsibilities such as making repairs.
Similarly, Maryland landlords have a responsibility to:
- Abide by all the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
- Provide a safe and habitable rental property that adheres to all local codes.
- Maintain the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.
- Provide the tenant adequate notice when looking to enter their homes. While Maryland law doesn’t define the exact notice period, most landlords provide their tenants with 24 hours’ notice.
- Make requested repairs within a reasonable timeframe once they have received the request.
- Follow the proper eviction procedure when evicting an errant tenant.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws
1. Fair Housing Law
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to treat all your tenants fairly and equally. It’s illegal to discriminate against tenants based on any of the protected classes, including disability, national origin, familial status, color, religion, sex, and race.
2. Rent Increases & Related Fees
Local jurisdictions in Maryland are free to enact rent control policies. Currently, Takoma Park is the only locality that has done so. Otherwise, as a landlord in Maryland, you’re free to charge any rent amount you wish.
Additionally, landlords are free to make adjustments to the rent amount at any time for any reason. The state law doesn’t require landlords to notify their tenants in advance.
3. Maryland Security Deposit Law
Maryland has a pretty detailed security deposit law in place. It defines important things such as the maximum amount a landlord can charge, when the deposit should be returned, and allowable deductions.
For a basic overview of the state’s security deposit law, please click here.
4. Maryland Eviction Laws
Common reasons for evictions in Maryland include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Excessive property damage
- Failure to move out when the lease ends
- Disturbing the peace of the neighborhood
- Illegal use of the property
5. Renters Rights to Withhold Rent
For renters to withhold rent, the conditions must constitute a threat to their health, life, or safety. As such, you must ensure your rental unit has:
- Functioning locks
- Properly maintained railings, stairways, and floors
- Adequate garbage receptacles
- Up-to-code heating, lighting, and electrical facilities.
- Up-to-code plumbing and water supply.
- Effectively weatherproofed windows, walls, and roof.
6. Landlord Entry
As a landlord, you may need to enter the rented premises for various reasons including:
- Responding to a court order.
- Showing the rental to prospective tenants, buyers, or mortgagees.
- Making repairs that had been requested by a tenant.
- Responding to an emergency.
While some other states do have entry laws, Maryland doesn’t. That notwithstanding, most landlords do give their tenants 24 hours’ notice prior to entering their homes.
7. Landlord Retaliation
As a Maryland landlord, you cannot retaliate against your tenant. For instance, you cannot end the lease without cause, arbitrarily decrease services, arbitrarily increase rent, or even threaten to evict your tenant.
Do you still have questions? If so, McKenna & Vane Property Management can help. We specialize in helping property owners in Maryland achieve peace of mind through quality management services. Our services are available in Howard, Carrol, Frederick & Montgomery Counties.