The Maryland residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) outlines the terms and conditions of the residential use of real estate in exchange for rent payments. This contract is legally binding between the landlord and the tenant, describing the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Maryland Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Maryland.
- Landlord’s Name & Address – for all rental units in Maryland.
- Security Deposit Receipt (PDF) – for any rental unit charging a security deposit.
- Water & Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure (PDF) – for 1-2-unit buildings where the tenant pays utilities to the landlord.
- Statement of Habitation Disclosure (PDF) – for all rental units in Maryland.
- Lead Based Paint Disclosure (PDF) – for rental units built prior to 1978.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in Maryland.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Maryland.
So that future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered to the landlord, the name and address of either the landlord or the person authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf must be disclosed up-front (commonly done so in the lease agreement) .
Security Deposit Receipt
Applicable to rental units charging a security deposit.
When a landlord charges a security deposit to a prospective tenant, the landlord must include the “receipt” of the security deposit with lease, which includes the following:
- The right to have a move-in checklist completed within 15 days of tenancy.
- The right to review the checklist with the landlord within 15 days of moving out.
- A landlord’s obligation to conduct the inspection within 5 days of the tenant’s move-out date and notification of the day of inspection.
- The right to receive an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit within 45 days of moving out.
- The obligation for the landlord to return the remaining deposit within 45 days of moving out.
- A statement that acknowledges the landlord is liable for 3 times the security deposit if the security deposit laws are not followed.
This receipt should be kept for a minimum of 2 years from the date of termination, and the landlord may be subject to a $25 penalty if they fail to provide a written receipt alongside the lease .
Water & Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure
Applicable to leases where the tenant pays utilities to the landlord as part of a 1 or 2-unit building.
If charging tenants directly for water or sewage services, the landlord is required to provide disclosure of the obligation for the tenant to make payments to the landlord. The disclosure also states that the tenant is to be provided a copy of the bill(s) they are paying the landlord for relating to the utility usage .
Statement of Habitation Disclosure
Applicable to all leases.
Maryland law requires that all lease agreements include a statement concerning the condition of the property in regards to habitation. If the property is leased as habitable, this must be disclosed. If there are other habitability agreements in place, they must be outlined in the lease to protect against liability for the landlord.
This disclosure should include which utilities the tenant and/or landlord are individually responsible for.
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Maryland to:
- Fill out and attach this lead based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Maryland law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Maryland law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke so as to not interfere with other tenants.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Maryland limits late fees to a maximum of 5% of the rent due for monthly leases and $3 per week or $12 per month for. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease . Returned check fees are limited to $35 each .
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to establish an understanding of the current status of bed bugs at the property in case of a future infestation and to provide information on the protocol for handling one.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units in buildings built prior to 1981 (which are considered at-risk for asbestos), it is recommended to establish an understanding of any prior knowledge on the existence of asbestos on the property.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to tenant negligence during the lease term.