The state of Maryland offers comprehensive laws that govern the relation between a landlord and their tenant. These laws exist to protect both the landlord and tenant, and ensure that both parties can coexist in harmony and enjoy a mutually beneficial business relationship. These laws help the landlord get supplementary income for the property that they own, while ensuring that the tenant is able to find clean, habitable and comfortable living accommodations. If you own a residential property in the state of Maryland, you should be aware of the laws that mandate the services that you as a landlord must provide to the tenant.
• When someone approaches you with an offer to lease your property, you are allowed to demand an application fee from them. In case the tenant chooses to pick another property after they have already applied to you, you are allowed to retain the application fees as long as it is less than $25. This application fee is usually used to cover charges like running a credit check on the prospective tenant.
• Oral leases are valid for any lease that has a duration of less than 1 year. Although landlords are advised to opt for a written agreement, a month to month lease is perfectly legal in the state of Maryland even when it is only verbal.
• Standard leases for rental agreements are easily available, but you reserve the right to include additional terms in the rent agreement. However, any term that prevents the tenant from enforcing the landlord from providing pre-agreed upon services is not allowed.
• Maryland property laws require that the safety and habitability conditions of a property must be disclosed in the agreement if the landlord has more than 5 rental properties. The lease must also specify the duties of the landlord as well as the tenant regarding the payment and maintenance of utility services of the rented property.
• A landlord can impose fine for late payment of rent. This penalty must not be higher than 5 percent of the monthly rent.
• If the tenant requests a written copy of the lease before they complete the deal, you are required to provide it to them. The lease must contain all terms that the tenant and landlord have agreed to, even the ones that were not part of the standard lease.
• For cash payments of rent, the landlord must provide the tenant with a rent receipt. A tenant can ask for a receipt even in case when the payment being made is not in the form of cash.
• The security money that the tenant deposits at the start of the lease should be deposited in an escrow account. This money can be used to settle pending rent, or any damages incurred to the property during the stay of the tenant. Fo a security deposit that exceeds $50, the landlord must also pay a simple interest of 3% per annum on the amount that is calculated every 6 months.