provides you with information about Maryland landlord/tenant laws. It covers
topics dealing with applications, leases, security deposits, rent escrow, lead
paint hazards, eviction, and where to seek help if problems arise. In reviewing this material,
keep in mind that many Maryland counties and Baltimore City have different
landlord/tenant laws that may provide additional protections or require that you
follow different procedures.
A free, printed
copy of this booklet may be ordered by calling the Consumer Protection Division
at (410) 576-6500.
This booklet is
also available in PDF format; click
Application FeesLeasesRent ReceiptsSecurity
DepositsRight to Take Possession at Beginning of
LeaseLease RenewalsBreaking a LeaseRent Escrow: When the
Landlord Fails to Make RepairsLead-Based Paint
With Rental ProblemsRelevant LawsFrequently Asked Questions
APPLICATION FEESQ. Renee applied for an apartment
and paid a $25 application fee. The next day she found another apartment she
liked better. She asked the first landlord if he would refund her application
fee, but he said the fee was nonrefundable. Did the landlord have the right to
keep the fee?A. Yes. A landlord may keep an application fee of $25 or
less.If a landlord rents more than four units on one piece of property,
the lease application must explain what your obligations and rights are if an
application fee is taken.
An application fee
is any fee other than a security deposit paid to a landlord before a lease is
signed. You should never sign a lease until your application has been
application fees to cover the costs of processing an application, such as
running a credit check. A landlord is entitled to keep an application fee of $25
or less. If the fee is more than $25, the landlord must refund any amount that
was not actually used to process your application. The excess amount must be
returned to you within 15 days after you've moved in or after you or the
landlord has given written notification that the rental won't take
If the landlord
withholds more than $25 of an application fee from you, you should ask the
landlord to provide a written explanation of exactly what expenses were
incurred, and what the cost of each item was. If you are not satisfied with the
explanation, you may want to pursue the matter further.
If, at the time you
fill out an application, a landlord asks for money to hold an apartment, it may
not be clear to you that you are being asked for a security deposit. It is not
wise to pay a security deposit until your application has been accepted and you
are signing a lease. Before you pay any money, you should confirm with the
landlord whether it will be refunded if you decide not to rent or if the
landlord decides not to rent to you. Ask the landlord to write that information
on a receipt. This could save you from having to fight to get the money refunded
LEASESQ. Larry made an oral agreement with a landlord
that he would rent an apartment on a month-to-month basis for $600 a month, that
he would pay the utilities, and move in on the 15th of the following month. Is
this a legal contract?A. Yes. Oral leases are legal for lease terms of less
than one year. However, a written lease is strongly recommended to help
landlords and tenants avoid disputes.
A landlord is
required to use a written lease if the tenancy is going to be for a year or
longer, or if the landlord owns five or more rental units in the State.
Otherwise the landlord and tenant may orally agree on what the rent and other
terms of the rental will be. If you enter into such an oral contract, it is very
important that you know your and your landlord's legal rights and
responsibilities. You should also have a clear understanding with your landlord
about all terms in the agreement. However, it would be to your advantage to
clarify things by having your agreement with the landlord in a written
Many landlords use
a standard lease for all their tenants. However, there is nothing to prevent you
from negotiating your own terms with the landlord. Additional terms can be
written on the agreement, and terms that are unacceptable to you can be crossed
out. Of course the landlord has to agree to these terms as well. Be sure that
all changes are dated and initialed by both you and the landlord.
requires that a landlord who offers five or more dwelling units for rent in
Maryland must include in each lease a statement that the premises will be
available in a reasonably safe, habitable condition; or, if that is not the
agreement, a statement concerning the condition of the premises. The lease must
also specify the landlord's and the tenant's obligations as to heat, gas,
electricity, water, and repair of the premises.
A lease may not
contain any provision that denies rights granted to tenants under Maryland law.
The lease may not:
Advance Copy of
the LeaseIf you request it in writing, a landlord must give you a copy
of a lease before you decide whether to rent. It must include all terms agreed
upon, complete in every detail, but it does not have to state your name and
address, the date you are moving in, or identification and rental rate of your
It is a very good
idea that you get a copy of the lease to read in advance. Before you sign a
lease, you should be aware of all the terms it includes, including when rent is
due, late fees, procedures for giving notice at the end of the lease, automatic
renewal provisions and return of the security deposit. You should also read and
make sure you can live with the rules regarding pets, parking, storage areas,
noise, requirements to cover floors with carpeting, trash, maximum number of
occupants, and move-out procedures.
RENT RECEIPTSA landlord is required to give a tenant a
receipt for a rent payment if the tenant makes the payment in cash or if the
tenant requests a receipt. (In Anne Arundel County, a landlord is required to
give a receipt unless the payment is by check or unless the tenant rents the
property for commercial or business purposes.)
SECURITY DEPOSITSA security deposit is any money paid
by a tenant to a landlord that protects the landlord against damage to the
rented property, failure to pay rent, or expenses incurred due to a breach of
Return of the
Security DepositSecurity deposit disputes often involve
misunderstandings about when the landlord is entitled to keep the security
deposit, and disagreements about whether the tenant caused damage to the rental
Q. Benny broke his
lease when he bought a house. The landlord was able to rent to a new tenant
three days after Benny moved out. However, he said he was keeping Benny's
security deposit because Benny had broken the lease. Was the landlord entitled
to keep the money? A. No, not the entire amount. A landlord may only
withhold from the security deposit an amount equal to actual damages suffered.
The landlord didn't incur any expenses in re-renting, and there was no damage to
the apartment, so his only loss was the three days of lost rent.
Q. Carrie lived in
an apartment for five years. When she moved out, the landlord kept her security
deposit to repaint the apartment and replace the living room carpet. Was the
landlord entitled to keep the money?A. No. Unless Carrie damaged the carpet
or the walls beyond ordinary wear, the landlord could not keep any money from
the security deposit. A landlord may not keep a tenant's security deposit to pay
for improvements needed due to normal wear and tear.
The landlord must
return a tenant's security deposit plus interest, less any damages rightfully
withheld, within 45 days after the tenancy ends. If the landlord fails to do
this without a good reason, you may sue for up to three times the withheld
amount, plus reasonable attorney's fees.
If the landlord
withholds any part of your security deposit, he or she must send you a written
list of damages, with a statement of what it actually cost to repair the
damages, by first-class mail to your last known address within 45 days after you
move out. If the landlord fails do this, he or she loses the right to withhold
any part of the security deposit.
You have the right
to be present when the landlord inspects your rental unit for damages at the end
of your lease, if you notify the landlord by certified mail, at least 15 days
prior to moving, of your intention to move, the date of moving, and your new
address. The landlord must then notify you by certified mail of the time and
date of the inspection. The inspection must be held within five days before or
five days after your move-out date. The landlord must disclose these rights to
you in writing at the time you pay the security deposit. If the landlord does
not, he or she forfeits the right to withhold any part of the security deposit
for damages.Your rights and duties are different if you have been
evicted for breach of the lease, or have left the rented property before the
lease expired. Under these circumstances, in order for you to receive the
security deposit plus interest, you must send a written notice to the landlord
by first class mail within 45 days of being evicted or leaving the property.
This notice must advise the landlord of your new address and request the return
of your deposit. Once the written request is received, the landlord must then
take certain steps. • A list of damages to the rental unit and costs
incurred to repair them must be sent to you by first-class mail within 45 days.
If the landlord fails to send you a list of damages, the right to withhold the
security deposit is forfeited. • The security deposit, plus interest, but
less any damages rightfully withheld, must be returned within 45 days of your
notice. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit, you have the right
to sue for up to three times the deposit, plus reasonable attorney's fees.
Normal Wear and Tear?This is often the point on which landlords and
tenants disagree. Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules that fit every
situation. However, common sense suggests that carpeting will need to be
replaced periodically, and walls will need repainting, due to normal wear and
tear. A landlord must expect to bear these costs as part of doing business. If,
however, a tenant scorched a large area of the carpeting, or dragged an
appliance over it and ripped it, that could reasonably be considered damage.
Leaving small holes from picture hooks in the wall would be wear and tear, while
knocking a hole in the wall that would require drywall or plaster repair could
RIGHT TO TAKE POSSESSION AT BEGINNING OF LEASEQ. Zack was
supposed to move into his new apartment on March 1st. However, the previous
tenant did not move out on time and the landlord said the apartment would not be
ready until the 6th. What could Zack do?A: Zack had the right to cancel his
lease and get back any prepaid rent or security deposit he had paid to the
landlord. If he chose to wait for the apartment, he could find temporary
lodging, put his furniture into storage, and have the landlord pay for those
expenses as well as additional moving expenses. He would not owe rent for the
days he was not able to occupy the apartment.
If a landlord fails
to allow you to take possession of your rental unit at the beginning of your
lease, you have the right to cancel the lease with a written notice to the
landlord. Also, the landlord is liable to you for any damages you suffer as a
result of not being able to move in at the beginning of the lease, whether or
not you decide to cancel the lease. Unfortunately, while the landlord may be
legally responsible for the your expenses in this situation, it may not be easy
to obtain payment. You may have to take the landlord to court and then undertake
LEASE RENEWALSQ. Linda knew she had to give her
landlord 30 days' notice before moving out. Six weeks before the end of her
lease, Linda told a rental office employee that she would move out at the end of
the lease. Later, the rental office notified her that her lease had
automatically renewed, because she hadn't given the notice in writing, as
required by the lease. Was the landlord allowed to do this?A. Yes. To
protect yourself, always give the landlord notice of your intention to move out
in writing, and keep a copy for yourself.
Many leases contain
a provision that allows the lease to automatically renew for another term, or to
renew on a month-to-month basis, unless either the landlord or the tenant gives
prior notice that they will not renew. Note how many days' notice you will have
to give the landlord if you do not wish to renew the lease. If you fail to give
this notice in time, you could find your lease automatically renewed.
You should give the
notice in writing and be sure that the landlord receives it on time. Send the
notice by certified mail if you want to have proof that it was received on time.
renewal provision in a lease must provide a space for the tenant to give written
acknowledgment agreeing to the provision. If the landlord cannot show your
signature, initials or witnessed mark acknowledging that provision, the landlord
cannot enforce an automatic renewal of the lease.
Other leases do not
have automatic renewal provisions, so you must sign a new lease if you wish to
or Other Changes in TermsIf you wish to continue renting, be sure you
know whether any of the terms of the lease will change. If your lease has an
automatic renewal clause, the landlord must notify you of a rent increase or any
other change with enough notice for you to decide whether you want to renew or
not. If your lease does not automatically renew, be sure to thoroughly read the
new lease you will sign. It is a new contract between you and the landlord and
any of the terms may be different from the terms in your original
BREAKING A LEASEQ. Janet notified her landlord that
she had to break her lease, as she was getting married. The landlord said she
would be responsible for the rent for the remaining four months of the lease if
he did not find a new tenant. Was the landlord correct?A. Yes.
A lease obligates
you to pay rent through the end of the lease. If you break your lease, the
landlord can hold you responsible for the rent due through the remainder of the
lease. However, a landlord is required to make a reasonable effort to re-rent
the apartment to limit losses. If the landlord is able to re-rent the unit, you
are only responsible for the rent until the date the new tenant moves in.
However, a landlord with multiple vacant units is not required to put a new
tenant into the unit you have vacated. Also, a landlord can hold you responsible
for costs of re-renting, such as advertising for a new tenant.
Some written leases
have a clause that allows the tenant to cancel the lease with a certain amount
of notice, and perhaps the payment of a fee, such as two month's rent. Some
other leases contain a clause that allows a tenant to cancel the lease if the
tenant is transferred by an employer to a location a certain number of miles
away. Under Maryland law, military personnel who have received orders for a
permanent change of station (or temporary duty for more than three months) may
end a lease with proper notice.
It's wise to think
ahead before signing a long-term lease. If you anticipate buying a house,
getting married or having to move for some other reason in the near future, ask
the landlord to give you a six-month lease or a month-to-month lease. If you
anticipate a job transfer, ask the landlord to add a job transfer clause to the
contract that would allow you to end the lease early, with appropriate
RENT ESCROW: WHEN THE LANDLORD FAILS TO MAKE REPAIRSQ.
During the winter months there was very little heat in Sally's apartment. After
calling the landlord several times about the problem, she sent a written
complaint that was ignored. Sally then reported this condition to the city
housing inspector, who issued a notice of violation to the landlord. Can Sally
stop paying rent until the landlord fixes the problem?A. No, if she stopped
paying rent the landlord could evict her. However, Sally has the right to have
adequate heat in her apartment. By following certain steps, she can deposit her
rent money into an escrow account established at the district court instead of
paying rent to her landlord.
Under Maryland law,
if a landlord fails to repair serious or dangerous defects in a rental unit, you
have the right to pay your rent into an escrow account established at the local
district court. But the law is very specific about the conditions under which
rent may be placed in escrow. You must give the landlord proper notice and
adequate time to make the repairs before you have the right to place rent in
escrow. The escrow account can only be set up by the court.
The serious or
dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to:
Rent escrow is not
provided for defects that just make the apartment or home less attractive or
comfortable, such as small cracks in the floors, walls or ceiling.
In order to
withhold rent for conditions that constitute a threat to life, health or safety
you must notify the landlord by providing actual notice or by certified mail, or
the landlord must receive notice of the violations from an appropriate
government agency such as the local housing department.
The landlord then
has a reasonable amount of time after receipt of the notice in which to correct
the conditions. If the landlord fails to do this, you may go to court to file a
rent escrow action asking to pay the rent to the court.
Before an escrow
account can be established, the court will hold a hearing to listen to both
sides of the story. If the facts call for a rent escrow account to be set up,
the judge can take several actions, including returning all or part of the money
to you as compensation, returning all or part of the money to you or the
landlord in order to make repairs, or appointing a special administrator to
ensure that the repairs are made. Once the escrow account is established, you
must continue to regularly pay rent into this account.
Baltimore City has
a rent escrow law that is very similar to the state law. Therefore, Baltimore
residents must exercise their rent escrow rights under city law. If you reside
in a county where such a rent escrow law has been adopted, you must follow
procedures required in the local law for setting up an escrow
You also may
withhold rent without establishing an escrow account, but you still must notify
the landlord by certified mail of the problems in the unit and of your refusal
to pay the rent. However, the landlord could take you to court and try to evict
you. You then may defend yourself by telling the court your reasons for
withholding rent. If the court agrees that the condition of your home or
apartment poses a serious threat to your life, health or safety, you will be
required at that time to put your rent payments into an escrow account until the
dispute is resolved.
escrow, what else can a tenant do if a landlord does not make
repairs?One thing a tenant can do is to report the landlord to local
authorities. Under a law that was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in
1986, every county in the state must adopt a housing code that meets minimum
statewide standards. Some counties and Baltimore City already have comprehensive
housing and building codes that are enforced by local authorities. The local
authorities will investigate your complaints and, if the landlord is cited for
violations, repairs will have to be made.
RETALIATION AGAINST TENANTSQ. Julie and two other tenants in her
apartment complex circulated a petition to form a tenants' group to deal with
the landlord's failure to make repairs. The landlord's nephew, who is also a
tenant in the complex, reported this activity to the landlord. Julie was
notified by the landlord that her rent would increase by $100 a month. Does
Julie have to pay the higher rent or face eviction?A. No.A landlord
cannot evict you, increase your rent, or fail to provide services because you
organize or join a tenant's organization. Nor could the landlord take any of
these actions if you had complained to him, filed a complaint against him with
the housing inspection department or other agency, or filed a lawsuit. However,
you would have to prove that retaliation was the only reason for the landlord's
LEAD-BASED PAINT HAZARDSQ. Carl and Sandra rented an older
rowhome. Because they had young children, they asked the landlord if the home
had lead paint. The landlord said she had recently painted the walls and
woodwork and there was no chipping paint, so they didn't need to worry. Should
Carl and Sandra be satisfied with that answer?A. No. At the very least, both
federal and Maryland law requires a landlord renting an older home (built before
1978 for federal law, before 1950 for Maryland law) to give a tenant a specific
pamphlet about lead paint hazards. More importantly, Maryland law requires
landlords renting homes built before 1950 to give the tenant a Risk Reduction
Certificate proving the property has had lead risk reduction measures
taken.Lead-based paint found in older homes is extremely dangerous to young
children and pregnant women. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities,
hearing loss, attention deficit disorder, loss of IQ, speech development delays,
hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior in children. In pregnant women, it can
cause abnormal fetal development and miscarriage.
Law Provides:A landlord renting a property
built before 1950 in Maryland must meet three requirements before renting a
property to you:
If a tenant sends a
written "Notice of Defect" to a landlord that there is chipping, peeling paint
or a child with elevated blood lead level in the property, the landlord must
respond by performing Modified Risk Reduction Measures within 30 days after
receiving the notice. Pregnant women and children under 6 years old must not be
in the house while Risk Reduction Treatments are being performed. If you are
required to leave your house for more than 24 hours while treatments are
performed, the property owner must pay for reasonable expenses for overnight
housing and meals for your family to stay in temporary lead-safe
It is illegal in
Maryland for a landlord to retaliate and evict a tenant primarily because the
tenant or a housing inspector sends a notice to the landlord informing him or
her that there are lead hazards in the property or that there is a child with an
elevated blood lead level in the property.
Federal Law:Federal law (Title X - The Federal Residential Lead-Based
Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992) requires that a landlord renting a property
built before 1978 disclose any known lead-based paint hazards on the property to
the tenant before the lease is final. The landlord must also give the tenant a
"Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home" pamphlet explaining the dangers of
lead-based paint hazards.
ReminderIt may be illegal for a landlord to require that a family
disclose the blood lead levels of their children prior to the approval of their
rental application, or to discriminate by refusing to rent to families with
children or families with lead-poisoned children. Some landlords have been sued
for these actions.
InformationFor more information on the dangers associated with
lead-based paint and how to deal with it in your home, contact the Coalition to
End Childhood Lead Poisoning at (800) 370-LEAD or the Maryland Department of the
Environment (MDE) at (800) 776-2706. The MDE also has helpful information for
tenants and landlords, including copies of the mandated pamphlets, at its Lead Paint Hazards Abatement website (Click here). If you suspect your child
has been exposed to lead-based paint, call your child's doctor immediately to
request a blood test.
EVICTIONQ. Joe and two fellow college students rented
a house. The lease stated that only three non-related adults could occupy the
house, but Joe invited two more students to move in to share costs. After
neighbors complained about loud parties, the landlord discovered the extra
tenants. He told the students he was evicting all of them for breach of lease
and they had to be out of the house by the weekend. Could the landlord do that?
A. No. The landlord can evict the students, but not immediately. State law
requires the landlord to first give the tenant one month's advance notice that
he is ending the lease and the reason why.(If the breach of lease involves
tenant behavior that constitutes a danger to other people or property, the
landlord must only give 14 days advance notice.) If the tenant fails to move
out, the landlord has to go to court to get an eviction judgment. Eviction
is a legal procedure. The landlord can't just tell you that you have to move or
throw out your belongings. To evict you, a landlord must go to district court to
get a judgment against you. If a landlord moves your belongings out of the home,
changes the locks, or cuts off utilities without a court order, you should call
the police and an attorney or legal services organization.
A landlord cannot
evict you simply because you have filed a complaint or a lawsuit against him or
her or have joined a tenant's association. This is called a "retaliatory
eviction," and you may be able to stop an eviction by showing the court that
your landlord is evicting you solely for one of these reasons.
can evict you for:
In addition, the
state's attorney, the county attorney, or community associations may bring an
eviction action against tenants involved in illegal drug activities.If your
landlord begins an eviction proceeding, you will receive an official summons to
attend a hearing. The summons may be served on you in person, but most often it
is mailed and/or posted on the rental property. Don't ignore it. Go to
the hearing and be on time! If you don't show up the landlord will probably
The hearing gives
you the chance to tell your side of the story. For example, you may be able to
prove that you did pay the rent, or that you tried to pay the rent but the
landlord wouldn't accept it, or that the landlord didn't give you a month's
written notice that you had violated your lease and had to move out.
If the judge finds
the landlord's case more convincing, he or she will rule in favor of the
landlord. Within five working days, the landlord can file for a court order for
the eviction, called a "warrant of restitution," and arrange for a sheriff to
oversee the eviction.
You may appeal an
eviction judgment. The appeal must be made within four days of the date of
judgment in non-payment of rent cases and 10 days in breach of lease or holding
over cases. You may have to post a bond to cover the rent while waiting for the
circuit court to decide the appeal.
On the date of an
eviction, the sheriff will come to the rental unit to order the tenant and
everyone inside to leave. The landlord or the landlord's employees can then
remove all property from the unit and put it on the public right-of-way while
the sheriff supervises. Once the property is moved from the unit, it is the
Help for Tenants
Facing EvictionBaltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. offers information to
tenants (and landlords) statewide about their rights and responsibilities in
eviction: toll-free (800) 487-6007.
If an eviction
would leave you homeless, you may be eligible for help from an eviction
prevention program offered by a non-profit housing assistance group or your
local government. One such program is offered by Baltimore City's Department of
Social Services: (410) 878-8650.
ASSISTANCE WITH RENTAL PROBLEMSThe Attorney General's
Consumer Protection Division has a Mediation Unit that can help you try to
resolve a dispute with a landlord.
Office200 St. Paul Place, 16th FloorBaltimore, MD
21202-2021Complaint Line:(410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023
toll-free9 a.m. to 3 p.m., M-FTDD for hearing impaired person: (410)
(consumers can download a consumer complaint form)
OfficesCumberland Telephone Assistance(301) 722-20009 a.m. to 12
p.m., 3rd Tuesday of each month
Assistance(301) 600-10719 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2nd and 4th Thursday of each
Office9200 Basil Court, Suite 301 Largo, MD 20774 Hagerstown, MD
21740(301) 386-62009:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mon-Fri.
Branch Office44 North Potomac Street, Suite 104Hagerstown, MD
21740(301) 791-47808:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri.
Branch Office201 Baptist StreetSalisbury, MD
21801(410)713-36208:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri.
Branch Office15045 Burnt Store RoadHughesville, MD 20637Mailing
address:P.O. Box 745 Hughesville, MD 20637
301-274-4620 or toll-free
1-866-366-83439:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.,Tuesdays
Consumer Protection Division covers the entire state, some counties also have
their own consumer protection offices that could help you with rental problems.
Find out if your county has its own landlord-tenant laws that might offer you
extra protection. These two counties have a consumer affairs division that can
try to help you with your dispute:
Office of Consumer Affairs6751 Columbia Gateway DriveColumbia, Maryland
Division of Consumer Affairs100 Maryland Avenue, Suite 330Rockville,
Maryland 20850(240) 777-3636
The Legal Aid
BureauThe Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. is a private non-profit law firm that
offers free legal services to people with limited incomes. If you require legal
help to resolve a landlord-tenant dispute, and are financially eligible for the
Bureau's services, you can go to one of the Legal Aid offices located throughout
You may also get
help from these groups:
The Public Justice
Center's Tenant Advocacy Project. Assists low-income tenants in Baltimore to
improve substandard housing conditions and prevent unjust evictions.500 E.
Lexington St.Baltimore, Maryland 21202(410) 625-9409
Neighborhoods, Inc. A tenant rights organization.2530 N. Charles Street, Ste 200
Baltimore, MD 21218 (410) 243-4468
Enforcement Agencies (check your local directory)
Some Laws Concerning Landlord-Tenant Issues in MarylandYou
can access these laws at many county libraries or look up specific sections of
Maryland laws through Lexis-Nexis at http://22.214.171.124/maryland/lpext.dll?f=templatesandfn=fs-main.htmand2.0
law:Annotated Code of MarylandReal Property, Title 8: Landlord and
of landlord to give tenant receipt8-203 Automatic renewal
provisions8-203.1 Security deposit receipt8-204 Right of tenant to
possession at beginning of lease8-208.1 Retaliatory evictions8-208.2
Retaliatory actions for informing landlord of lead poisoning hazards8-211
Repair of dangerous defects; rent escrow8-2121.1 Liability of military
personnel receiving certain orders8-213 Applications for leases; deposits
Title 8A: Mobile Home Parks
Environment6-801-852 Lead paint
lawTitle X - The Federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction
Act of 1992
Frequently Asked Questions
My landlord has
not repaired my dishwasher. Can I hold back part of my rent until he does?
Not paying your full rent may put you at risk of being evicted. See section on
rent escrow for situations that might qualify for rent
says I damaged the carpet, but the stains were there when I moved in. What can I
do? If you noted the stains on a move-in inspection form that you submitted
to the landlord, you have proof that you did not cause the stains. If you didn't
note the stains as pre-existing, you have no proof and the landlord may have a
right to hold back part of your security deposit.
Do I have a
grace period for late rent payments?Your lease may give you a certain
period of time (for example, five days) before a late fee is assessed. However,
a landlord may legally begin eviction proceedings as soon as your rent is
Can a landlord
evict me just by telling me to leave or else he will put my things on the
street? No, a landlord must go to court to get a judgment against you
I was supposed
to move in on the first of the month. The other tenant hasn't moved out. What
are my rights? See section on Right to Take Possession at
Beginning of Lease.
wouldn't rent to me, and I think it is a case of discrimination. Who do I
complain to? The Maryland Commission on Human Relations investigates
complaints of housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national
origin, sex, age, familial status, or physical or mental handicap.
Baltimore410-713-3611 in Salisbury301-797-8521 in
Hagerstown301-880-2740 in Leonardtown or, toll-free in Maryland
Do I have to pay
the last month's rent? I thought that was what the security deposit was for.
You are obligated to pay rent through the end of the lease, including the
last month. If you paid all your rent and didn't cause any damages, the landlord
will return your security deposit.
there any limit to how much my landlord can increase the rent for a new lease
term? Maryland state law has no rent control provisions, although local
jurisdictions may have rent control laws. See section on lease renewals.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TDD: 410-576-6372