The Maryland rental agreements are contracts that establish a relationship between a landlord and a tenant who wishes to use a real property. These documents determine the terms for use of the property, including the amount of the rent and the duration of the tenancy.
Maryland Rental Agreement Types
Common Rental Agreements in Maryland
- Montgomery County’s Housing of Community Affairs (DHCA) Single Family Dwelling Lease – this template, is heavily used by single-family dwelling units throughout Montgomery County. This template cannot be used in Gaithersburg, Rockville, or Takoma Park. It’s important to note that the initial lease must be accompanied by a Lease Summary that is issued by DHCA. It provides an extensive list of rules and procedures, including Montgomery County’s law which requires landlords to offer all Tenants an initial lease term of 2 years.
- Montgomery County’s Housing of Community Affairs (DHCA) Room Rental Dwelling Lease – this template is used for residential room rentals in Montgomery County only. It is an easy-to-read roommate agreement that outlines how much the roommate is expected to pay for a security deposit, rent, utilities, and for any additional charges.
Maryland Required Lease Disclosures
- Landlord’s Name & Address (required for all) – For the purpose of serving legal notices, every Maryland landlord must provide a notice in or alongside their lease agreement that outlines contact information of any agent or landlord authorized to act on behalf of the property.
- Security Deposit Receipt (required for some) – When a Maryland landlord chooses to charge a security deposit, they must include a receipt for the deposit which includes a notice of the right to complete a move-in and move-out checklist within 15 days of tenancy, the right to an inspection for itemized deductions from the security deposit, and notice that the landlord is responsible for damages of 3-times the security deposit if this statue isn’t followed to ensure all damages are accounted for upon ending the lease.
- Water & Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure (required for some) – When a Maryland tenant pays the landlord for utilities that are part of a shared 1 or 2-unit building, the landlord must provide a disclosure that mentions this fact and gives notice that the tenant is entitled to receive copies of the utility bill they are responsible for so tenants can verify they are being charged appropriately.
- Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) Disclosure (required for some) -If a landlord uses a ratio utility billing system (RUBS) to bill tenants for utilities, the landlord must provide the disclosure in writing.
- Lead Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – If built before 1978, each Maryland residential lease must include a lead-based paint disclosure form and EPA-approved pamphlet regarding the dangers of lead paint, plus notice of any known hazards that exist in the rental building to help reduce the health risk associated with living among lead-based paints.
To learn more about required disclosures in Maryland, click here.
Maryland Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Maryland requires all landlords to provide their tenants with adequate hot and cold-water access, HVAC, plumbing, electric outlets, and fire exits. These amenities must all be kept in working condition and repaired within a “reasonable” timeframe (usually 30 days). If repairs are not provided, an effected tenant can bring action of rent escrow to pay rent into court until the landlord makes the repairs. The tenant may not perform a repair and deduct.
- Evictions – Maryland landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or no lease/end of lease. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to quit Most evictions in Maryland can be completed within 2 weeks to a few months.
- Security Deposits – Maryland landlords can only charge security deposits valued at up twice the applicable rent rate. These deposits must then be returned within the 45 days following a tenant’s lease termination.
- Lease Termination – Maryland tenants can terminate their month-to-month leases only after issuing a 1 months’ notice to their landlord. A fixed-term tenant can break their lease early by supplying proof of the following exemptions: active military duty, domestic or sexual violence, landlord harassment, or an uninhabitable dwelling.
- Rent Increases & Fees – There is no statewide rent control; however, certain cities in Maryland have their own governing laws regarding rent increases. These raises do not require notice or justification unless otherwise locally mandated. Additionally, the state of Maryland specifies that late fees cannot exceed 5% of the rental amount, or if rent is paid on a weekly basis, a late penalty cannot exceed $3 per week or no more than $12 per month. There is a $35 limit for a bounced check, and it must be written in the lease agreement.
- Landlord Entry – Landlord may enter the property for certain reasons including emergency or to make necessary repairs. A reasonable, 24 hours’ notice should be given, and landlords should only enter the premises during normal business hours (Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm), unless it is an emergency.
- Settling Legal Disputes – To settle a legal dispute, landlords and tenants in Maryland may file suit in the state’s small claims court. These claims cannot exceed $5,000 in value, including those relating to evictions.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Maryland, click here.