Maryland lease laws and regulations for residential homes can be very complex, and even those with experience in this area can have questions when it comes to drafting or interpreting a lease. While it is always recommended to consult with an attorney for your particular needs, here are some laws pertaining to the most common issues we run into:
Utilities and Repair Obligations
In Maryland, landlords who offer to lease five (5) or more dwelling units may not rent any unit without a written lease. Those written leases must include a provision for the landlord's and tenant's specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises. If a landlord fails to comply with this requirement, the tenant may end the tenancy at any time with one (1) month's written notice.
Prohibited Lease Provisions
A landlord may not use a provision in a Maryland residential lease that:
- (1) Authorizes a person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the lease.
(2) Has the tenant agree to waive any right or remedy available at law.
(3) Provides for a late fee in excess of five percent (5%) per month of when the rent is due monthly or $3.00 per week (not to exceed $12.00 per month) if the rent is paid weekly.
(4) Has the tenant waive the right to a jury trial.
(5) Has the tenant agree to a period for the landlord's Notice to Quit be less than provided by law.
(6) Authorizes the landlord to take possession of the leased premises or the personal property unless the lease has been terminated by action or the parties or by operation of law, and the personal property has been abandoned by the tenant.
(7) Permits the landlord to commence an eviction proceeding or issue a Notice to Quit solely as retaliation against any tenant for planning, organizing, or joining a tenant organization with the purpose of negotiating collectively against the landlord.
Automatic Renewal Provisions
Except for a lease containing an automatic renewal provision of one (1) month or less, Maryland rental laws state that a lease that contains an automatic renewal provision unless notice is given by either party shall have the provision distinctly set apart from any other provision in the lease and provide space for the tenant's written acknowledgment of the provision, and unless the tenant signs the specific provision, it is unenforceable.
Duty to Give Rent Receipt
Maryland rental laws require that if the tenant makes rent payment by cash or requests a receipt, the landlord must provide a receipt. In Anne Arundel County, the landlord must give a receipt if the rent payment is tendered by check.
Record of Rent Paid
Every landlord is required to maintain a records system showing the dates and amounts of rent paid to the landlord and showing that a receipt of some form was given to each tenant for each cash payment of rent.
More Maryland Lease Laws
Other common issues we see involve security deposits, evictions, and tenant holding over. At The Law Offices of Edward J. Maher, P.C., we deal with all types of Maryland rentals, from single apartments to entire buildings.
For more information on Maryland lease laws and regulations for residential properties, please call or email our attorney firm today. We offer a free, no-obligation consultant and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.