Grab our free sample or generate an official Maryland lease agreement for residential use. Read further about required disclosures in Maryland, optional addendums for things like pets, and what Maryland landlord tenant laws apply to residential lease agreements.
Lease Agreement Sample
Click here to view/download the direct PDF file.
Residential lease agreements in Maryland should include the only universally required Maryland-specific disclosure: move-in and move-out inspections. For units built prior to 1978, landlords are also required to include this disclosure about lead-based paint as an attachment to the lease agreement.
Quick Facts for Maryland
No limit — usually one year
Max Security Deposit
Two month’s rent
Who Needs to Sign
Landlord, all tenants, and all co-signers or guarantors
Move-In and Move-Out Inspections, Lead-Based Paint
Legal Early Termination
Beyond written mutual consent, a tenant can break their lease without penalty in Maryland if they’re starting active military duty, the unit is considered uninhabitable, or the landlord violates their privacy rights. In these cases, the landlord must make reasonable effort to re-rent the unit. A landlord may break a lease in Maryland for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or committing an illegal act. Before breaking a lease, the landlord must first serve the tenant written notice.
Addendums to Consider
Pets, Utility Allocation, Mold, & Criminal Activity
What’s in a Maryland Residential Lease Agreement
To start, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:
A residential lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant for the use of property for a fixed period in exchange for regular payments. By contrast, a rental agreement has no fixed period, and as a result, is usually month-to-month (read more). Residential lease agreements are governed by Maryland landlord-tenant law (Md. Code, Real Prop. §§ 8-208(d)(5), 8-501, 8-402).
Let’s now go through what you need to include in a residential lease agreement template in Maryland. This includes:
- Basic/universal elements – these are applicable to ALL states, not just Maryland.
- Maryland-specific required disclosures – there is 1, plus 1 other conditional federal disclosure.
- Optional items/sections – anything from late rent fees to pet addendums.
Basic Elements of a Maryland Lease Agreement
When renting a piece of property to live in, it is common for the person who is interested in renting the unit to sign a residential lease agreement. This document will discuss all of the terms of the lease so that the landlord and the tenant can agree upon them in a document that has legal standing. In the state of Maryland, there will be some sections of the lease that should be covered in this document. The important pieces of information that needs to be included are:
Lease Introduction and Parties
In the state of Maryland, a residential lease agreement is going to be designed to represent both parties that are taking part in the rental. This means that the first thing that should be seen on the document is the names of the parties that are going to be agreeing to this rental agreement. The full name of the tenant, as well as the landlord, will be required here. All documents will require the first and last names to be written here, but some will also require the middle name or initial as well.
If there is more than one tenant moving into the unit, their names will need to be on the document as well. The name of the management company that takes care of the day-to-day dealings of the property will also need to be named in the document as well. Make sure to include the phone number of both parties so that they can easily be reached when they need to.
In this section, make sure to also include the address of the property that is going to be rented. This portion should include the full street address, which will include the unit number, the county, and other identifying information.
Terms of the Agreement and Occupancy Limitations
In the state of Maryland, the next section that should be included in any residential lease agreement should be the terms of the arrangement. These terms should be laid out so that both parties can see them, and they can be agreed upon by the landlord and the tenant. Also, if the tenant has asked to rent a specific type of unit on the property, it should be listed here as well so that there is a record of what was requested. It is important to also indicate the number of bedrooms that the unit has as well as the number of bathrooms that are present in the unit.
In this section, the condition of the property as well as the appliances that are in the space should be mentioned as well. Not all units that are for rent are going to have a dishwasher, a washer, or a dryer, so if this unit does have one of these, it is important to list them in the document. Also, make sure to mention whether or not new ones can be installed on the premises by the tenant.
When a home only has a certain number of bedrooms, some landlords will restrict the number of people that are welcome to stay in the unit. This rule does not typically pertain to guests of the tenant, but if there is someone additional staying in the unit for more than a few weeks, the landlord may request that the tenant gives them a small amount of rent for the additional tenant. If there are any rules about the occupancy limits of the space, they need to be clearly listed in this section of the document.
Rent and Utilities
The next part of the residential lease agreement that will need to be discussed is the amount of rent that will be due each month and the date that the rent is actually to be paid to the landlord or the management office. If the location where the rent is to be delivered is different from the address of the landlord, then the address for the drop off location should be included as well.
When the tenant is late paying the rent for the month, there is typically a late fee attached to what is due. This amount should be discussed in the original lease agreement as well as the amount of time before the fee is added. If a tenant is frequently late with their rent, the landlord can request that all of their payments are made with a bank check or a money order. In the state of Maryland, many of the rental properties that can be found will have an automatic renewal process when the lease is about to expire. Whether this is the case or not, it is important to state the process that the tenant will need to follow in order for the lease to be renewed.
Many tenants in the state of Maryland will have concerns about the parking situation before moving into a new unit. Since the parking in some areas of the state is so scarce, having designated parking for the residents to use could be very beneficial. Some landlords will have a parking lot that the entire building can use to park their vehicles, while others may have driveways, garages, and street parking. If there are any specific parking arrangements that the tenant should be aware of in the neighborhood, they need to be listed here on the document.
When a tenant moves into a new space, one of the expenses that will need to be considered is the utilities that will need to be paid. Sometimes the landlord will decide to pay some of the utilities that are on the property, so if there are any utilities that will be covered, make sure that they are explained in this section of the rental agreement as well. To make it easier for the tenant to put the utilities in their name, the landlord can provide contact information for the major utility companies in the area.
This is a lease (the “Lease”) […] between (Name of owner of the property) (“Landlord”) and (Name of person(s) to whom the property is leased) (“Tenant”), made this day of (Date).
TERM. The lease will be for a term of (Number of months) beginning on (Start date) and ending on (End date).
PREMISES. The premises is a (Type of dwelling i.e. house, apartment, etc.) located at (Address of rental property). The following features are included on the property (List of amenities).
RENT & UTILITIES. Tenants will pay a monthly rent of (Rent amount) on the (Day) of each month. Tenants are responsible for utilities including (List of utilities).
If a unit is empty before the tenant moves in, they may consider whether or not it is a possibility to move in and pay for a partial month of living on the premises. When the landlord permits that, the tenant will be able to pay the portion of the rent that is due for the partial month before the term of their lease actually begins. Parking is another expense that is not often considered; however, some rental locations will not have parking that is secure. To secure a space, the landlord may charge a small fee for a reserved parking location.
Maintenance, Repairs, and Alterations
When a tenant first considers moving into a unit, they are going to want to take a walk through the property with the landlord or a representative of the management company. This will allow them to see if there are any issues with the property that needs to be repaired and to make sure that everything in the unit is up to par. If something needs to be repaired or replaced, the items need to be itemized in the document so that everything that the landlord agreed to fix is fixed before the tenant moves in. This could include anything including the carpet needing to be replaced, the appliances needing to be updated, or the walls needing to be painted. If there is nothing that needs to be done before the tenant moves in, then make sure that it is mentioned in this section of the document as well.
When maintenance is needed inside the unit, what are the steps that the tenant will have to follow in order for them to be approved and taken care of? Some landlords will take care of maintenance needs when they are brought up right away, while others will have a bit of a waiting period if the concerns are not an emergency. Some landlords will permit the tenant to do the repairs themselves, and subtract whatever the repairs cost the tenant from the rent that they need to pay.
Making alterations to the unit is another concern that many tenants will have. This means that they will want to change things in the unit to make them more appealing. Some of the things that a tenant may wish to alter include something like switching out the appliances for more eco-friendly models that will help them save money in the long run. It can also include things like changing the locks on the door or adding another lock to make sure that it is more secure for the renter. Most landlords will permit the locks to be changed as long as they are provided a copy of the key for the new lock.
Notice of Entry to the Premise
When a new tenant moves into a unit that is rented by a landlord, they are going to understand that they are going to need access to the property from time to time. This can be for repairs, inspections, or emergency concerns.
In the state of Maryland, there is no law that states that the landlord must provide notice before entering a tenant’s rental space. Most landlords are aware that abuse of this lack of a statute is forbidden, especially if there is not a very good reason for them to be entering the unit. That being said, most landlords will discuss the entry of the unit with the tenant before they need to be inside to see when the best time for them to allow them into the unit would be. This makes it so that the landlord does not need to use their key, and the tenant willingly allows them into the space.
Legal Restrictions and Rules
Other legal restrictions that must be covered in the rental agreement include:
- Quiet Time: When a tenant moves into an area where there are other close neighbors, the landlord may have a quiet time that goes into effect after a certain time at night. This will make it so that the new tenant does not disturb any of the tenants that already live on the property when they are sleeping. Loud music, moving furniture, and being excessively loud during this time is not permitted. If the neighbors complain, the landlord may send a notice to the tenant to inform them of the issue and give them the chance to stop the excessive noise.
- Parking: If there are parking rules that the tenant will need to know about, they need to be listed in this section. This should include the rules for where the tenant can park as well as what needs to be done when it snows in that area of Maryland. Many landlords will request that the tenants move their vehicles when it snows so that they can plow the space without an issue.
- Lead-Based Paint: If the unit that the tenant is moving into was built before the year 1978, then the tenant will need to be aware that the property could have used lead-based paint during that time. This is a material that can be hazardous to children, elderly individuals, and pregnant women, so make sure to include this disclaimer to any new tenant moving in. There are actually federal pamphlets that can be used to help inform the tenant about the issue, which can be handed out when the residential lease agreement is signed.
The final section of any residential lease agreement will need to be comprised of the signature of both the tenants and the landlord. If there is more than one tenant moving into the unit, all of their names must be included here as well. The document should include the printed and signed name of both parties. This must be the full, legal name that was used at the beginning of the document. Underneath the signature should be a date indicating when each person signed the document.
Optional Sections to Include
Beyond the basic elements of a lease agreement and what needs to be disclosed in the state of Florida, there are some additional details and sections you’ll also want to include.
- Late Fees – Whenever a tenant fails to pay the required rent within a certain number of days, the tenant will be charged a late fee. The two details to include are: (1) how long is “late”, and (2) how much the late fee is.
- Early Termination – If a tenant decides to leave early, an early termination addendum is a good means of protection. In Florida, if you decide that you would like to use this approach, you must present that option to the tenants at the time the lease is signed. The tenant must also decide whether or not they accept the terms. Keep in mind that tenants may not be denied the rental on the basis fo refusing.
- Pet Addendum – Having a pet policy can help you limit the number of pets allowed on the property, as well as protect your property in case of future damages. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules regarding service dogs and emotional support animals in rental units.
Whether or not a pet can stay in a unit can be a big deal for a pet owner. They will want to know whether their pets will be welcomed into their new home or not. If pets are not permitted on the premises, then it needs to be written in this section of the document clearly for the tenant to see. The last thing that they are going to want is to sign a rental agreement that is going to leave their pet without a home to live in.
Some rental properties will only allow a certain number of pets per unit. Other landlords may only allow certain types of animals of breeds on the property, so if there are any rules about the pets that are permitted on the property, make sure that they are listed in this section as well.
When a landlord allows pets to reside on the property, they may charge a small fee for them to stay in the unit. This could be a fee that is charged like a security deposit or one that will be reoccurring every month. This fee should be discussed with the tenant before they move in because a fee that is $25 a month for two pets may make the rental a much less reasonable option for the tenant to rent for a long time period. This fee may be negotiable as well, so make sure that it is mentioned in this section of the document.
Read our guide on pet policies and our blog post about service animal documentation for more information.
Check out our sample of a pet addendum below.
This Addendum is made on [ DATE ] between [ LANDLORD’S NAME ] (Landlord) and [ TENANT’S NAME ] (Tenant), and is understood to modify the Residential Lease for [ PROPERTY ADDRESS ] originally dated [ DATE ].
The landlord grants permission to the tenant to keep the domesticated pet(s) on the premises during the term of the lease agreement (INCLUDE LEASE START AND END DATE). The landlord may revoke permission at any time if the tenant fails to comply with any of the terms and conditions in the lease or following addendums.
2. SERVICE ANIMALS
Service, Guide, Signal, or Support animals are not “Pets” according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as long as the animal is being used by the tenant to support a disability or handicap, or if the tenant is training the animal(s).
If the tenant’s pet actually a Certified Service Animal or in training to be a Certified Service Animal? : _______ Yes _______ No
3. ANIMAL PROFILE
Type of Animal(s): Dog, Cat, Bird, Rabbit, Pig, Reptile, Fish (circle all that apply)
Name of Animal(s): ________________________
Weight of Animal(s): ______________________ (lbs.)
Breed of Animals(s): ______________________
Age of Animal(s): ________________________
Spayed or Neutered?: __________ Yes _______ No
Current on Vaccinations?: _______ Yes _______ No
Valid Animal Licenses?: _________ Yes _______ No
Required Disclosures in Maryland
The following are landlord disclosures required in the state of Maryland. It’s extremely important to include these in your Maryland residential lease agreement to ensure you comply with all laws, rules, and regulations.
Move-In & Move-Out Inspections
Landlords must supply prospective tenants with a receipt that details tenants’ rights to move-in and move-out inspections, as well as information about how the security deposit will be handled and the tenants’ rights to receive an itemized list of deposit deductions if any occur; the receipt must also detail the penalties for landlord should he or she fail to comply. (Md. Code Ann., [Real Prop.] § 8-203.1)
Move-In & Move-Out Inspections. The Tenant hereby acknowledges that the Property is in good condition. Tenant will be furnished with a Move-In-Report upon commencement of this Lease. If there is anything about the condition of the Property that is not good, Tenant agrees to record it on the Move-In-Report and return said report to Landlord within 5 (five) days of taking possession of the Property. Tenant agrees that failure to file any written notice of defects will be legally binding proof that the Property is in good condition at the time of occupancy.
The Landlord is obligated to conduct a move-out inspection within 5 days before or after the Tenant’s stated date of intended moving. 4. The Landlord is obligated to notify the Tenant in writing of the date of the inspection. The Tenant has the right to be present when the Agent inspects the Leased Property at the end of the tenancy in order to determine if any damage was done to the Leased Property. The Tenant has the right to receive, by first class mail, delivered to the last known address of the Tenant, a written list of the charges against the Security deposit claimed by the Landlord and the actual costs, within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy. The Landlord is obligated to return any unused portion of the security deposit, by first-class mail addressed to the Tenant’s last known address within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy.
Lead-Based Paint Hazards
This isn’t Maryland-specific, but if the unit being rented out was built before 1978, the landlord is required to do the following 3 things:
- Provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint (see latest pamphlet PDFs here).
- Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint in the unit (i.e. its location, condition, etc.), and include any records or reports about the paint or its hazards. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
- Fill out and attach this disclosure form to the lease.
Beyond what’s stated in a residential lease agreement, there are numerous laws that govern a rental arrangement. We’ll go through the most important ones below.
Security Deposit and Additional Expenses
A security deposit in Maryland is money that is collected to account for damages when the tenant vacates their former living unit. This fee is designed so that the landlord does not have losses from anything more than wear and tear. In this state, the security deposit that is collected is not to be more than the amount of two months’ rent. If the landlord charges more than this amount, then the landlord may have to return up to three times the amount to the tenant when they vacate the premises. When the tenant vacates the space, the landlord will have a period of 45 days in which they must return the security deposit or an itemized list of how the money was used. The tenant can be present when the unit is inspected for damages to verify the damage that needs to be repaired. According to Maryland statute § 8–203, a receipt for the amount of the security deposit must also be given to the tenant when the deposit is made.
When the tenant moves out of the unit, the landlord will have a period of 45 days in which to return the security deposit or provide an itemized list that will indicate what the money will be used for. When the tenant moves out, they should provide a forwarding address if they have one so that they get their security deposit returned to them more quickly.
Breaking a Lease in Maryland
When a tenant breaks the terms of a fixed-term lease, there are often consequences for doing so. Sometimes, the breaking of a lease cannot be avoided, but there are a few situations that will allow the tenant to break the lease without facing any penalties. This includes starting active duty in the military. The tenant can also end the lease if the unit is not safe to live in or if the landlord has violated the privacy of the tenant in some way. Some landlords will allow the tenant to offer up a replacement tenant in their place so that the unit is still occupied and the tenant will not be required to pay the rent until the terms of the original lease is over.
Eviction Process in Maryland
The eviction process will begin when a tenant does not pay their rent on time or they have broken the terms of the original lease. This could mean that they are performing illicit activities on the premises, they are excessively loud and disregard quiet time rules, they have pets in a unit that is not pet-friendly, or they are harassing their neighbors. The landlord will need to provide the tenant with a notice to quit, and once the days have passed based on the reason for the notice, the landlord can start the eviction process in the courts in the county where the property is located.
If the landlord has requested that the tenant has a guarantor for the rental relationship to work out, then their information will need to be included in this section as well. A guarantor is an individual who will vouch for the tenant and a person who the landlord can turn to if the tenant falls behind in their rent payments. All that will be required of the guarantor in this section is their signature, the date, their phone number so that they can easily be reached if needed. In addition, their signature indicates that they give their permission for the landlord to contact them if the tenant is keeping up with their rent payments.