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Maryland Landlord Tenant Law

Maryland Landlord Tenant Law


Landlord-tenant laws in Maryland are governed by the Maryland Code, Real Property, and the Housing article. These laws are put in place to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants, including how aspects of their tenancy are handled, such as rent, eviction proceedings, security deposits, and lease agreements. A substantial portion of the human population in Maryland is comprised of renters, making it important to understand the landlord-tenant laws in the state. This article provides an in-depth look at Maryland landlord-tenant law, discussing the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants.

Lease Agreements:

A lease agreement is a legally binding document between a landlord and a tenant that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. In Maryland, the law requires a written lease agreement for all tenancies lasting a year or more. However, written lease agreements are always preferred since they provide a clear understanding of the expectations of both parties. The lease agreement should include:

1. The rent amount and due date
2. Security deposit amount and terms of return
3. Landlord and tenant responsibilities for repairs and maintenance
4. Rules regarding subletting, guests, and pets
5. The length of the tenancy and any renewal options


Maryland law does not establish a maximum amount for rent. However, the amount of rent cannot be increased more than once every twelve months, unless the landlord and tenant mutually agree on a shorter period. The rent increase must occur at least thirty days before the lease renewal or anniversary date. Additionally, landlords cannot charge rent before it is due, such as in advance or during the first or second week of the month.

Security Deposits:

Maryland law states that landlords can require a security deposit of up to two months’ worth of rent. The deposit is returned at the end of the lease term unless the landlord has to make deductions for unpaid rent or damage. The landlord must provide a written itemized statement of any deductions within forty-five days of the tenant’s move-out date.

Tenant Rights and Obligations:

Tenants in Maryland have certain rights that are protected by law. These include:

1. The right to quiet enjoyment of the rental property
2. The right to a safe and habitable dwelling that meets building and housing codes
3. The right to receive notice before the landlord enters the rental property
4. The right to a return of the security deposit at the end of the lease term

A tenant’s obligations under Maryland law include:

1. Paying rent on time
2. Not damaging the rental property
3. Complying with the terms of the lease agreement, including rules regarding pets and guests
4. Informing the landlord of any repair needs in writing and allowing access to make the necessary repairs

Eviction Procedures:

Landlords in Maryland may evict a tenant for various reasons, such as non-payment of rent, violating the lease agreement, or criminal activity on the premises. However, the landlord must follow strict procedures to avoid legal repercussions. Before evicting a tenant, the landlord must provide a written notice of eviction with the reason for the eviction and a time frame for the tenant to remedy the situation. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can file for a court order of eviction.

Complaint Procedures:

If a tenant feels like their landlord has violated any of their rights, they may file a complaint with the Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. The tenant may also choose to hire a private attorney to represent them in court. Tenants may also file complaints with local housing authorities or code enforcement agencies.


Maryland landlord-tenant law is complex, and it is important for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities. This article highlights the most critical aspects of Maryland landlord-tenant law, including lease agreements, rent, security deposits, tenant rights, eviction procedures, and complaint procedures. By following these rules, both landlords and tenants can ensure their relationship is protected by law and avoid any legal complications.

The Basics of Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws

There are two aspects to keep in mind when it comes to Maryland landlord-tenant law:

1. The Tenant’s Right of Possession

2. The Landlord’s Right of Entry

Everything else pretty much bounces back and forth between these two principles of Maryland landlord-tenant laws. Think of it as a balance.

What Does the “Tenant’s Right of Possession” Mean?

Essentially, Maryland landlord-tenant law states that any landlord must verbally and/or in writing assure the tenant has possession of the property in question from the start of the lease term.

If the landlord, though, doesn’t provide that assurance – with the keys and everything – right on the date of the start of that lease term, by Maryland landlord-tenant law, the tenant can actually get that first month’s rent free.

Even if the contract’s already written up, under Maryland landlord-tenant laws, a tenant can cancel that lease if the landlord hasn’t provided that assurance. When the tenant cancels the lease, the landlord by Maryland landlord-tenant law must returns all monies and properties paid, such as:

1. Security Deposits

2. Prepaid Rent

3. Fees

What Does the “Landlord’s Right of Entry” Mean?

This is important to understand, because by Maryland landlord-tenant law, a landlord can’t simply walk into a property already possessed by the tenant. The Maryland landlord-tenant laws do state a reasonable right to privacy – that simply means no landlord can enter the property for any reason. A tenant can actually charge a landlord with trespassing in that event under Maryland landlord-tenant laws.

On the other hand, the “landlord’s right of entry” states that a landlord can enter the property under MD landlord-tenant law for certain reasons:

1. Inspections

2. Repairs

3. New Tenant Showings

Of course, under MD landlord-tenant law the landlord must give the current tenant notification – 24 hours notice for Prince George’s County – that he or she must enter the property. In addition, the tenant doesn’t even have to be present for the landlord to enter.

Now What is “Quiet Enjoyment” and “Constructive Eviction”?

Clever terms. But by MD landlord-tenant law, they make a lot of sense.

“Quiet enjoyment” is established as an MD landlord-tenant law and right for the tenant to enjoy the property without interference from neighbors or other entities – and the landlord can be held accountable for it simply because the landlord has the power to take action on those entities.

If the landlord does not, that can constitute a violation of the tenant’s right to enjoy the property quietly.

“Constructive Eviction” is when a tenant is actually allowed to abandon the premises if that “quiet enjoyment” has been violated. The tenant doesn’t have to pay the rent for further months required by contract, and the landlord must even reimburse the tenant for moving costs and other such expenses.

It’s all laid out by MD landlord-tenant law.

It’s a Business Relationship

In the end, it’s a contract that must be fully recognized by the law. And both sides have their parts in it.

Knowing rights is important. This is only a small part of it – but definitely a valid part. As you can imagine that some of this might not have been common knowledge at all.