Maryland Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 21, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

A Maryland residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a legal contract between a landlord overseeing a residential property and a tenant who wishes to rent it. A residential lease may, on or before move-in, additionally require a security deposit from the tenant as assurance against future property damage.

Maryland Lease Agreement Disclosures

The below disclosures are required for some or all residential lease agreements in Maryland.

Disclosure Applicable To
Landlord Name and Address All Units
Security Deposit Receipt All Leases Collecting a Security Deposit
Water/Sewage Utility  Leases Paying Utilities in a 1-2 Unit Building
Ratio Utility Billing System  All Units Charging Under a Ratio Utility Billing System
Habitation All Units
Lead Paint All Units Built Before 1978

Landlord’s Name and Address

Applicable to all Maryland rentals.

Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.

Security Deposit Receipt

Applicable to Maryland rental units collecting a security deposit.

Maryland landlords collecting a security deposit must give a receipt to the tenant. The receipt must contain the following language:

  • The right, within 15 days of the lease beginning, to have the rental unit inspected by the landlord with the tenant present and complete a move-in checklist.
  • A landlord’s obligation to (with proper notice) conduct a move-out inspection within five days of the tenant’s move-out date.
  • A landlord’s obligation to notify the tenant in writing of inspection dates.
  • The right to receive an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit within 45 days of moving out (via first-class mail).
  • The obligation for the landlord to return any unused portion of a security deposit within 45 days of moving out.
  • A statement acknowledging the landlord is liable for three times the security deposit, plus reasonable attorney’s fees. if the security deposit laws are not followed.

This receipt should be kept by the landlord for a minimum of two years from the date of lease termination (including eviction or abandonment of the rental unit). The landlord may be subject to a $25 penalty if there’s no written receipt alongside the lease.

Download: Maryland Receipt of Security Deposit Disclosure Form (PDF)

Water and Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure

Applicable to Maryland leases in a one- or two-unit residential building, where the tenant pays utilities to the landlord.

Maryland landlords must provide a disclosure when charging tenants directly for water or sewage service. This disclosure must specify the tenant’s obligation to make utility payments to the landlord, as well as the tenant’s right to (without asking) receive a copy of any related utility bills.

This does not apply to tenants who pay the utility company directly.

Download: Maryland Water and Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure Form (PDF)

Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) Disclosure

Applicable to Maryland rentals which use a ratio utility billing system.

Maryland rentals using a ratio utility billing system (RUBS) for utilities must provide the following information to all prospective tenants, in writing:

  • Disclosure that the tenant will be billed by the landlord for allocated utility services, identifying all such utilities
  • Copy of the last two utility bills issued to the landlord
  • Description of the method used to allocate the cost of the utility to the tenant, by utility
  • Statement that any billing calculation disputes are between the tenant and the landlord
  • Average monthly billed amount for all dwelling units in the residential rental property in the previous calendar year, by utility
  • Statement that the tenant may inspect records retained by the landlord that document a bill for utilities upon written request
  • Any additional service charges or administrative fees to be paid by the tenant for the operation of the ratio utility billing system
  • A citation to Maryland Code, Real Property § 8-212.4

It is important to note that this section does not apply to residential rental properties in a condominium organized under Title 11 of this article; or a cooperative project organized under Title 5, Subtitle 6B of the Corporations and Associations Article.

If the landlord fails to provide this information in writing under a ratio utility billing system, it will be unenforceable.

Download: Maryland Ratio Billing System (RUBS) Disclosure (PDF)

Statement of Habitation Disclosure

Applicable to all Maryland rentals.

Maryland law requires, in all leases, a statement concerning the property’s health and safety. The landlord must describe any habitability defects on the property, and agree with the tenant on who will remedy outstanding issues.

Download: Maryland Statement of Habitation Disclosure Form (PDF)

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to all Maryland rentals built before 1978.

For any property built before 1978, federal law requires that a Maryland residential lease must contain a lead-based paint disclosure. This requires landlords to do the following:

Download: Maryland Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form (PDF).

Optional Disclosures and Addenda (Recommended)

The following lease agreement disclosures and addenda are not required by Maryland law in residential lease agreements, but assist with tenant management and help limit landlord liability.

Optional Disclosure Purpose
Asbestos Informs tenants about any asbestos hazards related to the property. Tenants can take precautions to reduce asbestos hazards by avoiding any disturbance of asbestos fibers.
Bed Bugs Informs tenants whether the property or an adjacent unit has a history of suspected bed bug infestation, and reminds the tenant of the obligation to report suspected infestation immediately.
Late/Returned Check Fees Specifies late fees or returned check fees related to the lease. Maryland caps late fees at 5% charge of the rent (monthly leases) or $3 per week/$12 per month (weekly leases). Returned check fees have a $35 cap.
Medical Marijuana Use Informs tenants about policy related to medical marijuana use on the rental property. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only, or allow use only in designated smoking areas.
Mold Disclosure Informs tenants about actual or suspected mold contamination on the property, along with any remediation efforts, to help limit landlord liability.
Move-In Checklist Takes inventory of existing property damage, when the tenant takes possession of the rental property. This enables accurate deductions from the security deposit upon move-out.
Non-Refundable Fees Charges not agreed by the tenant in the lease may be refundable upon lease termination. For Maryland landlords to charge a non-refundable fee, it must be disclosed and agreed as such in the lease.
Shared Utilities Arrangements Discloses how charges are billed to individual tenants, when multiple rental units share a utility meter for the whole building or property. This ensures tenants receive fair charges and understand what uses contribute to their bill.
Smoking Informs tenants of designated smoking areas that do not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants.
Some Maryland cities, like Baltimore, have more comprehensive rules than the statewide standard. Always check local laws.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Mandatory disclosures outline important health, safety, and property information for both landlord and tenant safety. A landlord who fails to provide federally or state-mandated disclosures could face legal consequences or monetary penalties, either from a tenant lawsuit or from state officials. Many lease provisions may be unenforceable without legally required disclosures.

Failure to comply with the federal lead-based paint hazard disclosure risks fines of tens of thousands of dollars per violation.