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Maryland Tenant Rights

Maryland Tenant Rights

Maryland Tenant Rights: A Comprehensive Guide

As a renter, it’s vital to understand your rights and responsibilities under Maryland’s tenant-landlord law. Knowing these rights can help you negotiate a fair lease agreement, defend yourself against eviction, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout your tenancy. This article provides a comprehensive guide to Maryland tenant rights, including essential laws, regulations, and resources that tenants can use to protect themselves.

Lease Agreements in Maryland

When a tenant enters a lease agreement in Maryland, there are specific legal requirements that must be met. These requirements include:

– Security Deposit: A landlord may only charge up to two months’ rent as a security deposit for an unfurnished unit, or three months’ rent for a furnished unit.
– Lead Paint Disclosure: Maryland law requires landlords to disclose any known lead-based paint hazards in the rental unit. They must also provide tenants with a pamphlet on lead poisoning prevention.
– Rent Increase: Landlords can increase the rent when the lease is up for renewal, but they must provide the tenant with at least 30 days’ written notice in advance.
– Advance Rent Payment: Landlords cannot require tenants to pay rent more than one month in advance.
– Eviction Notice: Maryland law requires landlords to give tenants notice of eviction at least four days before filing in court. The notice must state the reason for eviction and inform the tenant of their right to challenge it in court.
– Late Rent Fees: Landlords can charge late rent fees, but they cannot exceed 5% of the monthly rent.

Rent Control in Maryland

Maryland has no statewide rent control laws. However, certain counties in Maryland have local rent control ordinances that dictate how much a landlord can raise rent each year. These counties include Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and the City of Takoma Park. In these areas, landlords must comply with the rent control laws specific to their locality.

Landlord Responsibilities in Maryland

Maryland law outlines specific responsibilities that landlords must adhere to. These responsibilities include:

– Maintenance: Landlords must keep the rental unit in a safe and habitable condition, ensuring that they comply with local housing codes and regulations.
– Repairs: Landlords must fix any issues with the rental property that create a hazardous or unsafe environment, such as faulty wiring, water leakage, or dangerous mold.
– Pest Control: If pests are present on the property before the tenant moves in, the landlord is responsible for extermination.
– Utilities: Landlords must provide a reasonable amount of heat, hot water, and water pressure throughout the rental period. If these utilities fail, landlords must take reasonable steps to address the issue.
– Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants have the right to “”quiet enjoyment”” of their rental property, meaning that landlords cannot interfere with their peace and privacy.
– Notice of Entry: Landlords must give tenants reasonable notice, usually 24 hours, before entering the rental property.

Tenant Responsibilities in Maryland

Maryland tenants also have specific responsibilities that they must uphold. These include:

– Paying Rent: Tenants must pay the rent on time, as specified in the lease agreement.
– Property Maintenance: Tenants must keep the rental unit clean and well-maintained and avoid causing any damage to the property or disrupting other tenants.
– Code Violations: Tenants must comply with local housing codes and regulations.
– Security: Tenants must take precautions to keep the rental unit secure and safe from theft or vandalism.

Security Deposits in Maryland

In Maryland, landlords can only charge a maximum of two months’ rent as a security deposit for unfurnished units and three months’ rent for furnished units. Security deposits must be returned to tenants within 45 days of the lease’s end, minus any agreed-upon deductions for unpaid rent, damage to the property, excessive wear and tear, or cleaning fees.

If the landlord fails to return the deposit or makes unlawful deductions, the tenant can file a complaint with the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation. If the commissioner finds that the landlord has violated the law, they can order the landlord to return the deposit and pay damages.

Eviction in Maryland

Under Maryland law, landlords cannot evict tenants without providing prior written notice of the eviction and a reason for it. The notice must give the tenant a chance to remedy the issue, such as unpaid rent or lease violations, within a specific time frame. If the tenant fails to address the issue, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit in court.

Once the court has issued an eviction order, the landlord can evict the tenant. However, tenants have the right to challenge an eviction notice in court, which can buy them additional time to find a new home or address the issue that led to the eviction.

Discrimination in Maryland

Maryland law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. If a tenant feels they have been discriminated against, they can file a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.

Resources for Maryland Tenants

If you’re a Maryland tenant, there are several resources available that can help you navigate tenant-landlord laws and protect your rights. These include:

– Maryland Attorney General’s Office Tenant Rights: The Maryland Attorney General’s Office provides extensive information on tenant rights, laws, and resources.
– Maryland Legal Aid: Maryland Legal Aid offers free legal services to low-income tenants who need assistance with tenant-landlord disputes.
– Fair Housing Action Network: The Fair Housing Action Network provides education and advocacy for renters, including information about fair housing and tenant-landlord laws.
– Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development: The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development offers resources and assistance for renters, including rental assistance programs and tips for finding affordable housing.


In conclusion, as a Maryland tenant, it’s crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities under tenant-landlord law. This includes knowing the essential laws governing lease agreements, rent control, landlord and tenant responsibilities, security deposits, eviction, and discrimination. By taking advantage of the resources available and understanding your rights, you can protect yourself and ensure a fair and safe rental experience.

What Are Common Maryland Tenant Rights?

Yes, even renters have a Maryland tenant right. Although it’s always such a big deal to be a homeowner, and there’s so much involved when it comes to real estate law, even when it concerns tenants and apartments and even rental houses, certain Maryland tenant rights need to be explained:

The Lowdown on Maryland Tenant Rights

It’s important to know all of this about Maryland tenant rights:

1. Maryland Evictions

2. Maryland Security Deposits

3. Normal Wear and Tear

4. Section 8

5. Tenant Screening

On the subject of evictions, Maryland tenant rights are simple in that all residents are given a certain timeline in which they must vacate the premises.

In addition, when it comes to Maryland security deposits, a Maryland tenant right specifies that no rental place can require a resident to pay a security deposit that is more than two months’ rent, or just $50. Whatever is more would be the established law pertaining to Maryland tenant rights. That Maryland tenant right, too, allows a renter to receive a receipt for the deposit, which can also be included in the lease.

Surprisingly, by law a landlord can actually be fined for not providing that receipt.

In addition, there’s a Maryland tenant right, allowing a tenant to be present during an inspection before and after the rental agreement – before moving in and before moving out.

Section 8 is also a very valid part of MD tenant rights, allowing individuals and/or families to have resources in low-income housing. Typically, though, not everyone can qualify for Section 8 under MD tenant rights. There is a voucher program available under MD tenant rights necessary to be approved under Section 8, and usually there’s a waiting list.

To qualify for Section 8, you have to fit a certain income level. And the type of housing is contingent on the size of the family.

Under MD tenant rights, too, tenant screenings are allowed, so long as it doesn’t include anything like ethnic origin, race, religious background, disability, or any other personal information. According to MD tenant rights, what is a ‘tenant screening’? Basically, it’s a landlord’s right to check on a prospective tenant’s history. Everything from:

1. Credit Score

2. Criminal Background

3. Evictions

4. Bankruptcies

Anything that can lend some information to the landlord about the quality of tenant.

A credit score can say a lot about a prospective tenant –

1. Will the Tenant Pay Rent on Time?

2. Will the Tenant Pay Other Utilities on Time?

3. Will the Tenant Be Able to Pay a Security Deposit?

Of course, a criminal background check will tell a landlord a lot about a prospective tenant’s ability to keep a house or apartment clean, keep it safe, and keep a landlord legally safe as well.

Evictions and bankruptcies are also big red flags for a landlord to consider a certain tenant, and that landlord is perfectly within his or her rights to turn away a potential tenant based on those records.

All that’s required of a tenant is to allow a landlord the right to obtain a credit report before making a decision on handing over the keys of the house or apartment with a rental agreement.