Maryland Landlord-Tenant Law SummaryAre there rent control/rent stabilization policies or laws in Maryland?
Rent Control Policies Exist in the Following Locations: College Park, Frederick County, Takoma Park, and Washington County. Landlords should check with their local housing authority for further information and to determine regulations.

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
Security deposits may not exceed 2 month's rent.

Are there any specifications regarding the placement and/or acceptance of the security deposit?
Security deposits are required to be held in an interest bearing account that is maintained by a financial institution located within the state and the account must exclusively house only the security deposit. Additionally, the security deposit must be placed in an account within 30 days of receipt and a written statement of the deposit must be provided to the tenant.

Please Note: When the tenant provides the landlord with the security deposit, the landlord must then provide a written statement showing the tenant they have the right to be present at an inspection of the property when tenant moves out.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.

May I charge a fee for late rent or a returned payment?
Late fees may not exceed 5% of the amount owed for rent. Week to Week leases may charge a late penalty of no more than $3 per week or a total of no more than $12 per month. A returned payment fee must be no more than $35. Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 15-802.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

How can I end a Maryland lease agreement?
Any lease or other written agreement may not require the tenant to give a longer notice of termination than the landlord. (Md. Code, Real Property, Section 8-501.) When a written lease contains termination provisions; the required notice of intent to vacate shall be provided within the lease.

  • Baltimore City law requires the landlord to give at least 60 days’ written notice before the end of the year, month, or week when the tenant is to leave. The tenant normally has to give only a 30-day written notice.(Public Local Laws, Sec. 9-16.M)

My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
Landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit within 45 days after the tenancy ends. Either the full deposit plus interest (if the deposit was in excess of $50) must be provided OR an itemization of any deductions and the balance, if applicable. The interest may be computed using the : Maryland Rental Security Deposit Calculator. , which is provided by Maryland.gov web-site.

Maryland provides very strict laws regarding the acceptance and return of security deposits. Failure to follow them may bring stiff fines and legal ramifications. Security Deposits are governed by Maryland Chapter 489.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
There are no clearly-defined state-wide limits on the landlord’s right to enter the leased premises. Rather, in the absence of a genuine emergency, there is a balance between the tenant’s right of privacy and the landlord’s right to enter regarding tasks such as performing an inspection, making repairs, and/or showing the leased premises.

Please Note: In Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, the landlord is required to give 24 hours notice prior to entering the leased premises.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
The landlord has a duty to disclose material facts and/or latent (hidden) defects relating to the leased premises.
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

VERY IMPORTANT: The owner must give the MDE pamphlet, “LEAD POISONING PREVENTION - Notice of Tenants’ Rights” to all new tenants as well as every two years thereafter for long term tenants. Notices and packets must be provided in a verifiable manner, such as by certified mail.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Have questions about Maryland laws?  Ask them in our State Law Forum, and also review our other Maryland rental resources!