Maryland Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Maryland Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Last Updated: October 10, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

Maryland legally requires landlords to meet certain “habitability” requirements for all rental properties. This means that they’re responsible for providing a property that meets specific health and safety standards and for fixing issues that violate them.

Maryland Implied Warranty of Habitability

In Maryland, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain a safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.

Examples of clear habitability violations include:

  • Exposed electrical wiring.
  • A pipe leaking human waste.
  • A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.

      However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like stained carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.

      Landlord Responsibilities in Maryland

      Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements. Baltimore, in particular, has detailed habitability laws.

      Item Has To Provide? Has To Fix / Replace?
      Air Conditioning / Heating Only Heating Only Heating
      Hot Water Yes Yes
      Kitchen Appliances No No
      Washer & Dryer No No
      Smoke/CO Detectors Yes Yes
      Window Coverings No No
      Light Fixtures No No
      Landscaping No No
      Garbage Removal No No
      Garbage Pickup No No
      Mold N/A Yes
      Pest Control No N/A
      Pest Infestations N/A Usually
      Water Leaks N/A Not Usually
      Clogs N/A Not Usually

      Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Maryland

      Maryland landlords must provide heating during winter for rental properties. They don’t have to provide air conditioning, but must fix air conditioning if the lack of repair creates a “serious and substantial” threat to tenants.

      Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Maryland?

      Maryland landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless heating equipment won’t work otherwise.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Maryland

      Maryland landlords must keep plumbing in reasonable working condition.

      Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Maryland?

      Maryland landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties.

      Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Maryland?

      Maryland landlords must fix clogs that interfere with the availability of sewage disposal or running water on rental property.

      Are Landlords in Maryland Responsible for Fixing Leaks?

      Maryland landlords have to fix leaks that interfere with the plumbing’s provision of running water and sewage disposal to rental property.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Maryland

      Maryland landlords don’t have to provide or maintain kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are responsible only for making sure there are no electrical issues that endanger basic safety or habitability, or which prevent the adequate lighting of the rental property.

      Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Maryland?

      Maryland landlords are not responsible for replacing light bulbs or particular light fixtures, although they are responsible for making sure the rental property can be adequately lit in general.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Maryland

      Maryland landlords have no responsibilities for garbage removal in the law.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Maryland

      Maryland landlords don’t have any specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they interfere with the cleanliness of common areas, violate local codes, or create a hazard to health and safety.

      Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are responsible for most mold issues. While there’s no state requirement for testing, landlords must investigate and fix mold problems since they threaten health and safety.

      Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are responsible for fixing pest issues the renter didn’t cause, including rats, roaches, mice, bed bugs, and ants. However, the law only requires the landlord to act once more than a single unit is affected.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are not responsible for providing or maintaining any particular type of windows or window coverings. The landlord has to repair broken windows the tenant didn’t cause, since this is a health and safety issue.

      Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are responsible for ensuring smoke alarms and required carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed at the beginning of a tenancy.

      Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Maryland?

      Maryland landlords are responsible for addressing anything that might contribute to a fire hazard, which includes battery replacement in the course of properly maintaining fire safety devices.

      Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Maryland

      Maryland landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer.

      Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Maryland

      Maryland renters have the right to repairs for issues affecting health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must start by notifying the landlord of the issue, usually via certified mail, and waiting a “reasonable” time (up to 30 days) for repairs.

      If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter can move out and cancel the rental agreement, or withhold rent (and later possibly get an injunction to force repairs), particularly by filing an action through the rent escrow process. Renters are not allowed to repair and deduct.

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