Maryland Landlord Tenant Rights

Renting a home can be stressful, whether you are the lessor or the lessee. Take the stress out of rentals with our below guide on Maryland landlord tenant rights.

Landlord Responsibilities

The landlord has certain responsibilities to the tenant. These include:

  • Providing and maintaining a habitable dwelling
  • Making requested repairs within a “reasonable” time (typically 30 days)
  • Providing water, heating and plumbing
  • Providing accessible fire exits
  • Removal of bed bugs

The landlord is prohibited from taking any retaliatory actions against a tenant for exercising these housing rights granted to them under Maryland law.

Tenant Responsibilities

The tenant also has responsibilities to the landlord. These include:

  • Keeping the unit in a safe and habitable condition
  • Making minor repairs and general maintenance
  • Keeping fixtures clean and sanitary
  • Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors

Tenants are not allowed to withhold rent or deduct repairs they made from their rent payments.

Security Deposit

Maryland law limits security deposits to the equivalent of 2 months’ rent.

The security deposit, with interest, must be returned within 45 days after the tenants move out of the rental unit. A landlord’s violations of any security deposit laws can result in legal suit for up to three times the withheld security deposit plus legal fees. However, the security deposit can be withheld for the following reasons:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Damage caused by the tenant beyond ordinary wear and tear
  • Any other costs resulting from a lease violation.

Landlord’s must provide the tenant an itemized list of damages charged against the security deposit and the amount being returned to the tenant.

Rent and Fees

Maryland landlords can increase the rent for any amount without providing the tenant a justification. In addition, Maryland landlords are not required to provide tenants any advanced notice. However, Maryland state law does allow local jurisdictions to enact rent control policies.

Landlords can charge late fees up to 5% of the total value of the late rent payment. There is no required grace period before a landlord can charge late fees. There are no limitations on fees for returned checks. Landlords can also charge application fees although there are some restrictions depending on the number of rental units owned by the landlord.

If a landlord does not make requested repairs within a reasonable time of a tenant’s request, a tenant may file with the court to have their rent escrowed. The court will withhold the rent until the repairs are completed and may take other actions such as terminating the lease.

Evictions

Evictions can occur in Maryland under the following circumstances:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Lease violation
  • No lease or end of lease – a notice to quit is required to be provided by the landlord prior to eviction
    • Week-to-week – 7-day notice
    • Month-to-Month – 30-day notice
    • Year-to-Year – 90-day notice

A landlord cannot evict a tenant in retaliation or based on discriminatory reasons.

Tenants can end a lease early for the following listed reasons:

  • Early termination clause
  • Active military duty
  • Domestic and sexual violence
  • Landlord harassment
  • Uninhabitable Unit

If a Maryland tenant breaks the lease early, they may be required to pay the outstanding amount due on the lease agreement. However, landlords are required to mitigate damages when a tenant moves by re-renting the unit.

Lease Termination Notice

If the lease is Week-to-Week, the tenant must give a 1-week termination notice. If the lease is Month-to-Month, the tenant must provide a 1-month notice. If the lease is yearly, a 3-month notice is required.

Relevant State Agencies

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies

City-Specific Links

Baltimore:

Housing Authority of Baltimore City

Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development

Baltimore Rental and Housing Laws

Water

Electric

Gas

 

Columbia:

Howard County Housing Commission

Water

Electric

Gas

Germantown:

Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Maryland Landlord and Tenant Statutes

Maryland Bar Association: Rights of Landlords and Tenants

Maryland Attorney General: Landlords and Tenants Tips on Avoiding Disputes