This is a summary of Maryland Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Maryland Code, the General Assembly Statutes, and various online sources to serve as a reference for people wanting to learn about Maryland landlord-tenant laws, Maryland eviction laws, and Maryland renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
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Rules and Regulations Governing Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Maryland Code and Court Rules – Real Property, Title 8 – Landlord and Tenant
- General Assembly Statutes
- Takoma Park Municipal Code – Housing – Title 6
- Takoma Park Municipal Code – Landlord-Tenant Relations (6.16)
Maryland Lease Terms Provisions
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
The security deposit cannot exceed two months’ rent. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(b)(1))
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
Yes. Security deposits must be returned with simple interest which has accrued at the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rate for 1 year, as of the first business day of each year, or 1.5% a year, whichever is greater. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(e)(1))
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
Yes. Maryland law requires that security deposits be stored in a bank account devoted exclusively to security deposits. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(d)(1)(ii))
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Maryland law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
45 days. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(e)(1))
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover unpaid rent, damage due to breach of lease or for damage by the tenant or the tenant’s family, agents, employees, guests, or invitees exceeding ordinary wear and tear to the leased premises, common areas, major appliances, and furnishings owned by the landlord. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(f)(1)(i))
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. The landlord must send a written list of the damages and a statement of the cost incurred by first-class mail to the tenant’s last known address. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(e)(1))
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
No. There is no Maryland law specifying record-keeping requirements.
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
The tenant may recover up to three times the withheld amount plus reasonable attorney’s fees. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(e)(4))
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no rent control laws in Maryland.
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. There is no Maryland law requiring a certain payment method for rent.
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes. Landlords can charge a late fee up to 5% of the amount of rent due, up to $3/week for leases where rent is paid weekly or $12/month for leases where rent is paid monthly. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-208(d)(3))
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
No. There is no Maryland law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees.
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. Maryland law allows landlords to charge application fees up to $25. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-213(b))
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. Landlords can charge up to $35 for a returned check fee. (Md. Code Ann. § 15-803)
Maryland Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?
No. There is no Maryland law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms. However, landlords cannot raise your rent in the middle of your lease.
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Maryland law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
Landlords must provide 30 days’ notice. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402(b)(1)(i))
- What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic lease?
Landlords can terminate the lease with one week’s notice. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402(b)(3)(i))
- What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic lease?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the lease with 1 month’s notice. . (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402(b)(3)(i))
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
Yes. Tenants have a right to be present at the move-out inspection. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-203(f)(1))
- When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
There is no Maryland statute on this issue.
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
There is no Maryland law requiring landlords to give tenants notice of entry.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
There is no Maryland statute on this issue.
Landlord’s Duties (Md. Code Ann. § 8-211(e))
- Landlords must repair and eliminate conditions and defects which constitute, or if not promptly corrected will constitute, a fire hazard or a serious and substantial threat to the life, health or safety of occupants, including, but not limited to:
- Lack of heat, light, electricity, or hot or cold running water, if they are the landlord’s responsibility in the lease to provide
- Lack of adequate sewage disposal facilities
- An infestation of rodents in two or more dwelling units
- The existence of any structural defect which presents a serious and substantial threat to the physical safety of the occupants
- The existence of any condition which presents a health or fire hazard to the dwelling unit.
There is no Maryland statute covering this issue.
Required Landlord Disclosures
- Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
Maryland Renters’ Rights
- What are Maryland renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
If a landlord’s failure to comply with the landlord’s legal duties, the tenant may notify the landlord of the issue(s). If the landlord does not remedy the issue within 30 days of receiving notice, the tenant may bring an action of rent escrow to pay rent into court because of the asserted defect. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-211(g)-(i))
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
If a landlord’s failure to comply with the landlord’s legal duties, the tenant may notify the landlord of the issue(s). If the landlord does not remedy the issue within 30 days of receiving notice, the tenant may refuse to pay rent and raise the existence of the asserted defects or conditions as an affirmative defense to an action for distress for rent or to any complaint proceeding brought by the landlord to recover rent or the possession of the leased premises. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-211(g)-(i))
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Maryland renter’s rights?
Maryland law prohibits landlords from bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession, terminating a periodic tenancy, increasing rent, or decreasing services to a tenant who has complained to the landlord or any public agency, participated in any tenant’s organization, or filed a lawsuit against the landlord. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-208.1(a))
Maryland Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Maryland eviction laws?
- What notice do Maryland eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- For evictions based on non-payment of rent, landlords do not have to provide notice before starting the eviction process. However, if the tenant pays all rent before being removed from the unit, the eviction process will be stopped. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-401)
- For evictions based on violations of lease terms, landlords must give a 30-day notice of termination of the lease, or a 14-day notice if the violation could endanger and/or cause serious harm to themselves, other tenants, the landlord, or the landlord’s property, before starting the eviction process. Landlords do not have to permit the tenant to cure these types of breaches. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402.1)
- For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide the notice required to end the tenancy. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402(b))
- Do Maryland eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. There is no Maryland law permitting self-help eviction.
- Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?
Yes. Tenants may be liable for damages caused by holding over. (Md. Code Ann. § 8-402(a))
COVID-19 Changes to Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
- Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
- Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
- Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
- If evicted, will have no other housing options.
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
- Maryland Small Claims Court
- Maryland District Courts
- Maryland District Courts – Landlord Tenant Issues
- Maryland Landlord and Tenant – Tips for Avoiding Disputes
- Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Maryland Attorney General
- Maryland Insurance Administration
- Maryland Guide to Home Owners Insurance
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Maryland
- Takoma Park – Landlord Tenant Issues
- Maryland Real Estate Commission
Attorney Referral Services
- The Peoples Law of Maryland – Landlord/Tenant
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Maryland Legal Services Corporation
Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations