Warranty of Habitability in Maryland

Last Updated: May 4, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In Maryland, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Maryland Code §8-211. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability,” also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Fire Exits
Time Limit for Repairs “Reasonable” Time (<30 Days)
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes
  • Repair & Deduct: No

Applicable Dwelling Types in Maryland

The implied warranty of habitability in Maryland does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs Not specifically addressed
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Not specifically addressed
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities in Maryland

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Maryland, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes*
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes* (AC not required)
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes*
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Not addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Not addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Yes
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

This section does not apply to farm tenancies.

*Written leases in Maryland address whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for supplying heat, gas, electricity, water, and performing minor repairs. Carefully review the lease provisions in these areas.

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Lead-Based Paint

Maryland landlords are required to mitigate lead-based paint in any rental properties they own, including exterior paint. Failure to do so can result in legal action, and paying for a tenant’s temporary housing while the lead paint hazard is mitigated.

In addition, for all rental properties built prior to 1978, landlords must provide tenants with a booklet titled “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” prior to signing the lease.

The landlord may be required to pay up to $2,500 in permanent relocation expenses for a tenant if the issue is not mitigated or cannot be resolved, and the tenant is free to terminate the lease.


If rodents are found in at least two units of a multi-family rental property, the landlord must take action to remove the rodents, and failure to do so is considered to be a habitability issue.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in Maryland

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in Maryland, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting Repairs in Maryland

Maryland tenants can request repairs by giving the landlord actual notice of an issue that needs fixing, through any convenient method. However, if the landlord claims there wasn’t notice, the burden of proof is on the tenant.

There are two forms of notice for an issue which don’t let the landlord claim ignorance. The first is a written notice delivered by certified mail. The second is a notice of regulatory violation from a government agency.

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Maryland

Maryland renters have the right to repairs for a variety of potential issues, including things that impact health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. After receiving proper notice, a landlord must perform repairs within a “reasonable” time (usually under 30 days).

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. Read More

Landlord Retaliation in Maryland

Maryland landlords can’t retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of these protected actions in the past six months:

  • Reporting violations of lease, health, or safety to the government or landlord.
  • Participating in a suit against the landlord.
  • Participating in tenant organizations.

Non-retaliatory, good-faith intentions get an exception. For example, proportionate increases to rent aren’t retaliatory when due to increased property taxes.

Tenants can respond by suing, or claiming retaliation as a court defense. Penalties could be monetary damages of up to triple the monthly rent, plus court costs and attorney fees.