- Tenant to Landlord (End of Lease) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 90 days prior to a payment date in Maryland for a fixed-term lease.
- Tenant to Landlord (Month-to-Month) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 30 days prior to a payment date in Maryland for month-to-month leases or “at will” tenants that pay rent month-to-month.
- Landlord to Tenant (End of Lease) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 90 days prior to a payment date in Maryland for a fixed-term lease.
- Landlord to Tenant (Month-to-Month) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 30 days prior to a payment date in Maryland for month-to-month leases or “at will” tenants that pay rent month-to-month.
Purpose. A Maryland lease termination letter (“Notice to Vacate”) is a required document to end month-to-month lease agreements in Maryland. State law requires giving at least 30 days notice for termination. However, state law does not require notice to be given to end fixed term lease agreements on their end date.
Read further to learn more about notice requirements and the residential lease termination process in Maryland.
Maryland Notice Requirements for Lease Termination by Tenant
- Maryland state law requires that both landlords and tenants must provide about a month’s worth of notice before vacating a unit. This state requirement can be circumvented if the lease provides that a shorter notice may be provided by either party.
- Since Maryland law provides that the base tenancy should be the period of notification for the end of a tenancy, then week-to-week leases will require both the landlord and the tenant to notify the other party seven days in advance.
- For year-to-year leases, the tenant or landlord must provide three months’ worth of notice.
Legally Terminating a Lease Early in Maryland
- Based on the War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, tenants may break a lease to serve active military duty. Leases will end 30 days after the notice is provided.
- If the landlord violates the privacy of his or her tenant, this is grounds for what is called a constructive eviction, which is a no-fault eviction.
- Victims of domestic or sexual assault may also end a lease early. The tenant will be required to give written notice and will have a month to vacate.
- Unsafe rentals are also grounds for terminating the lease. Additionally, if the unit violates Maryland health codes, then this is also grounds.
When it’s time to end a lease, most will agree that a month-to-month is the easiest to terminate a lease for residential rental properties. These leases are designed to renew at the end of each month, and unlike a fixed-term lease agreement, there’s not much chance of repercussions if one of the parties ends the lease. As long as the termination comes with a 30-day notification, then Maryland will honor it. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to know what goes into a Maryland residential lease termination notice because either party, the landlord or his or her renter, can use it to explore greener pastures.
These documents can even be used by fixed-term leaseholders, but it’s imperative to understand that this may come with legal consequences. Still, if the renter or his landlord has just cause, there are loopholes that can help them get out of a restrictive lease. For those using this to end a month-to-month tenancy, these can provide some noteworthy benefits such as:
- Helping a lessor find more amenable tenants.
- Providing a lessee with an easy way to end a preexisting housing arrangement when a more beneficial one comes on the market.
- Allowing a lessor to move into a housing unit that he or she had previously rented to a month-to-month tenant.
- Helping the lessor find higher-paying tenants.
- Allowing a lessee to quickly end a disadvantageous tenancy.
In Maryland, it’s important to understand that a landlord may not terminate a tenancy for retaliatory reasons or to avoid making required adjustments to the property or maintenance. It’s also noteworthy that there isn’t quite the same amount of protection with one of these leases; a landlord can raise the rent with only a 30-day notice period. Still, in situations like this, the lessee can use one of the termination notices to easily find a new place to dwell.
How to Write a Lease Termination Notice
These termination notices are designed to make vacating a dwelling reasonably easy for both the lessee and his or her lessor, but for the sake of the courts, these notices should have an ironclad structure. This will help make all of the information easy to discern if one of the parties opts to dispute the notice. Fortunately, compared to other documents used for lease arrangements, the Maryland residential lease termination notice is relatively easy to write up, and in this section, the precise parts that will need to be included will be described in depth.
The Tenant or Landlord Information
To start, the party that the document is being delivered to will need to be identified. In most cases, this will be either the lessee (tenant) or the lessor (landlord), but for some documents, this can also include any management companies that run the property. The document should start with “To (recipient),” so that there’s no question about who the document is designed to reach. Somewhere in this section, the sender should also identify himself or herself as well.
This is very important when writing up a document like this one. First, it establishes when the document was created, so it should be presented right after the parties are identified. Also, there should be a timestamp that determines when the recipient receives the document; this will be the official start of the 30-day period, which is mandated by Maryland state law.
It’s also a good idea to provide identifying information about the property. This can include the physical address, but the side streets associated with the property, as well as the county information for the rental unit, can also make it very easy for the courts to identify.
Proof of Service
These documents are typically delivered by either a process server or certified mail, and for the 30-day period to begin, verification of receipt by the other party must be attained. There will need to be a checkbox to verify that the document was received by the recipient, and there should also be date information chronicling when it was received.
For a notice of this type, it’s also a good idea to add a few extra pieces of supplementary information. These can include:
- Forwarding addresses: This is crucial for those tenants that want to receive their security deposit. In Maryland, if there is no forwarding address, then the security deposit may be forfeit. This information also makes it easy for the landlord to forward any correspondence.
- Information for tenants that need extra time: Some notices can also let tenants know that there is the possibility of extensions if there is a need. If this is available, then a section for this kind of request should be included.
To close up a residential lease termination notice, there should be a section at the base that includes space for the signatures of both parties. In addition to this space, there should also be space for both parties to print their names and date the document so that consent is verified.
Terminating a Standard Lease
As mentioned, terminating a standard lease can have repercussions, but there are exceptions:
- For service members: According to the War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. § § 501, leases can be terminated without issue when the tenant is going off to serve in the armed forces.
- The property is proven to be unsafe for the tenant: Based on Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § § 8-211, 8-211.1, a tenant can terminate the lease and become constructively evicted if the property proves to be unsafe or violates state health codes.
- There’s been a violation of the privacy rights of the tenant: It’s patently illegal for landlords to enter the unit without warning or remove doors or windows in the unit. Also, if a landlord turns of utilities or harasses the tenant in any way, this is grounds for constructive eviction.