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.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts or legal liabilities in Maryland.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Maryland.
Landlords, owners, or any individual who is authorized to act on a landlord’s behalf shall provide their name and business address so that future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. This information is generally provided to the tenant in the rental 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 rental agreement, which includes the following:
- The right to have the rental unit inspected by the landlord with the tenant present and where a move-in checklist shall be completed within 15 days of tenancy.
- The right to have the rental unit inspected by the landlord with the tenant present where a move-out checklist is completed within 15 days of moving out.
- A landlord’s obligation to conduct the inspection within five days of the tenant’s move-out date and notification of the day of inspection.
- A landlord’s obligation to notify the tenant in writing of the inspection dates.
- The right to receive, by first-class mail, an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit within 45 days of moving out.
- The obligation for the landlord to return the remaining security deposit within 45 days of moving out.
- A statement that acknowledges 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 termination, eviction or abandonment of the rental unit 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 one or two residential unit building.
If a landlord is 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.
This does not apply to tenants who pay the utility company directly.
Statement of Habitation Disclosure
Applicable to all leases.
Maryland law requires that all rental agreements include a statement concerning the condition of the property in regard to habitation and safety. If the property is habitable, this must be disclosed. If there are other habitability agreements in place, they must be outlined in the rental agreement. Other habitability agreements concerning the condition of the rental unit includes the landlord and tenant’s obligation to gas, electricity, water, heat, and the repair of the rental unit.
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 Environmental Protection Agency (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 provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- 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 the tenant’s negligence during the lease term.