Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws

A summary of Maryland Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.

Required Disclosures (by Landlords)

Habitation: A lease must include a statement that the premises will be made available in a condition permitting habitation, with reasonable safety, if that is the agreement, or if that is not the agreement, a statement of the agreement concerning the condition of the premises; and the landlord’s and the tenant’s specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] §8-208)

Owner or Agent Information: The landlord must include in a lease or post the name and address of the landlord; or the person, if any, authorized to accept notice or service of process on behalf of the landlord. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] §8-210)

Security Deposit: Landlord must provide a receipt that describes tenant’s rights to move-in and move-out inspections and right to receive itemization of deposit deductions and balance, if any; and penalties for landlord’s failure to comply. Landlord may include this information in the lease. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-203, § 8-203.1)

Security Deposit Limit

Up to a maximum equivalent of two months’ rent may be collected for the security deposit. The landlord shall maintain all security deposits in a separate federally insured financial institution located within the State. In addition, security deposits of $50 or more must pay interest at an annual noncompounded rate of 3%.

Deadline for Returning Security Deposit

Security deposits must be returned within 45 days after the tenant has moved out.

Maryland landlords must also pay interest on security deposits of $50 or more (at an annual noncompounded rate of 3%)

Small Claims Lawsuits

Landlord-tenant disputes that do not exceed $5,000 may be filed in small claims court.

Late Fees

A maximum late fee of 5% of the monthly rent amount may be charged.

Increasing Rent

A minimum advance notice of one month must be given in writing to change a month-to-month rental agreement except in Montgomery County (2 months) and those cities that have some form of rent stabilization such as College Park and Baltimore City. Longer term lease agreements for all areas not governed by rent stabilization laws must provide for their own set of terms regarding the amount of rent and any potential for an increase. In other words, if there is no mention of an increase, then the rent cannot be raised.

Rent Stabilization

Two cities in Maryland have rent stabilization laws that limit how much rent landlords may charge and it can be increased.

Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent

In extreme circumstances where a landlord fails to act in a reasonable amount of time after being notified of
problem affecting the habitability of a rental and/or the health and safety of its occupants, rent may be withheld only by depositing it into an escrow account established by a local district court. It is then up to a judge to determine how the funds are handled and what actions are to be taken – such as refunds.

Termination and Eviction

An unconditional quit notice requiring 14 days to vacate or face eviction may be used for tenants breaching a lease by behaving in a manner that presents a clear and imminent danger to the tenant himself, other tenants, guests, the landlord, or the landlord’s property.

A 30 day unconditional quit notice may be used for any lease violation if the lease states that tenancy can terminate for violation of the lease; and, when tenant is late with the rent three times within the past 12 months, but landlord must have won an eviction lawsuit for each prior nonpayment of rent episode (tenants may reinstate their tenancy by paying rent and court costs after the landlord has won an eviction lawsuit, but before physical eviction)

For all other lease violations that don’t present a clear and imminent danger, a 30 day conditional cure or quit notice can be used.

Domestic Violence

If the petitioner and the defendant are living together at the time of the alleged violence, the court may award temporary possession of the home to the petitioner. However, the court may not grant temporary possession to a nonspouse person unless the name of the person eligible for relief appears on the lease or deed or the petitioner has resided in the home with the defendant for at least 90 days within one year of filing the petition.

Maryland Lease Agreement

See Maryland Residential Lease.

Maryland Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes

Maryland Code Ann. [Real Prop.] §§ 8-101 to 8-604.