Maryland Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: July 13, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

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

Disclosure Applicable to
Landlord Name/Address All Units
Security Deposit Receipt All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Water/Sewage Utility  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 Prior to 1978
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Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Maryland.

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 rental units charging a security deposit in Maryland.

If a landlord charges a security deposit to a prospective tenant, the landlord must include the “receipt” of the security deposit with rental agreement. The receipt should contain the below language:

  • 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. The landlord may be subject to a $25 penalty if they fail to provide a written receipt alongside the lease.

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

Water & Sewage Utility Obligation Disclosure

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

If a landlord is charging tenants directly for water or sewage services, the landlord is required to provide a disclosure. The disclosure should mention the tenant’s obligation to make utility payments to the landlord and that the tenant is to be provided a copy of the bill(s).

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 ratio utility billing systems in Maryland.

If a landlord uses a ratio utility billing system (RUBS) to bill tenants for utilities, the landlord must provide the below information to all prospective tenants in writing:

  • A statement that the tenant will be billed by the landlord for allocated utility services and that identifies all utilities at issue.
  • A copy of the last two utility bills issued to the landlord.
  • A description of the method that will be used to allocate the cost of the utility to the tenant, by utility.
  • A statement that any disputes relating to the computation of the tenant’s bill are between the tenant and the landlord.
  • The average monthly bill for all dwelling units in the residential rental property in the previous calendar year, by utility.
  • A statement that the tenant has the right to inspect records retained by the landlord that document a bill for utilities on written request.
  • Information regarding 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 this section. (Md. Code, Real. Prop. § 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 rental units in Maryland.

Maryland law requires that all rental agreements should include a statement concerning the condition of the property in regard to habitation and safety. The landlord should disclose if the property is habitable or unhabitable. If uninhabitable, describe the defects that are known and agreed upon by both the landlord and
tenant and indicate who will remedy the defect.

Download: Maryland Statement of Habitation Disclosure Form (PDF)

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.

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

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The below lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Maryland law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

Optional Disclosure How the Disclosure is Helpful
Asbestos This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Bed Bugs If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.
Late/Returned Check Fees Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In Maryland there is a late fee limit of a 5% charge of the rent due for monthly leases. If renting on a weekly basis a maximum charge of $3 per week or $12 per month. Returned check fees are limited to $35 each.
Medical Marijuana Use Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.
Mold Disclosure Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.
Move-in Checklist A move-in checklist holds the tenant accountable for future damages that they may cause.
Non-Refundable Fees A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.
Shared Utilities Arrangements For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
Smoking Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.

If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)

It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.