Maryland Landlord Tenant Law


Landlord Tenant – Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act – Maryland

Article
Real Property
Landlord Tenant

§ 8-101

A transferee of the reversion in leased property or of the rent has the same remedies by entry, action, or otherwise for nonperformance of any condition or agreement contained in the lease, as the original landlord would have had if the reversion or rent had remained in the original landlord. A transferee of the reversion in leased property is subject to the same remedies, by action or otherwise, for nonperformance of any agreement contained in the lease, as the originallandlord. This section applies to any transferee of a reversion in leased property, by voluntary grant or operation of law.

§ 8-102

If the reversion of any leased premises merges in any other estate, the person entitled to the estate into which the reversion merges has the same remedy against the tenant for nonpayment of rent or other forfeiture, or for not performing conditions, covenants, or agreements, as the person entitled to the reversion would have had if the reversion had not merged.

There is no merger by reason of any grant by way of mortgage or assignment of mortgage from the tenant of any property leased for a term of years, to the landlord of the property, whether by original or sublease, and the same rights and remedies exist as if the grantee in the grant had no other interest or estate in the property than the one granted.

Any grant of a nonpossessory corporeal estate is valid and effective without the attornment of the tenant in possession. However, any payment of rent by the tenant to the grantor of the grant prior to actual notice of the grant is an effective discharge of liability for the rent.

§ 8-105

If the effect of any provision of a lease is to indemnify the landlord, hold the landlord harmless, or preclude or exonerate the landlord from any liability to the tenant, or to any other person, for any injury, loss, damage, or liability arising from any omission, fault, negligence, or other misconduct of the landlord on or about the leased premises or any elevators, stairways, hallways, or other appurtenances used in connection with them, and not within the exclusive control of the tenant, the provision is considered to be against public policy and void. An insurer may not claim a right of subrogation by reason of the invalidity of the provision.

§ 8-106

If a landlord, having only an estate for life, dies on or before the day on which the rent that has been earned is payable and the landlord’s death terminates the leasehold estate, the landlord’s personal representative may recover from the tenant the full amount of the rent if death occurs on the day the rent is payable or a proportionate share of the rent if death occurs before this day.

§ 8-107

If there is no demand or payment for more than 20 consecutive years of any specific rent reserved out of a particular property or any part of a particular property under any form of lease, the rent conclusively is presumed to be extinguished and the landlord may not set up any claim for the rent or to the reversion in the property out of which it issued. The landlord also may not institute any suit, action, or proceeding to recover the rent or the property. However, if the landlord is under any legal disability when the period of 20 years of nondemand or nonpayment expires, the landlord has two years after the removal of the disability within which to assert the landlord’s rights.

§ 8-108

(a)  A court may enter judgment for the renewal of a lease that contains a covenant for renewal, including a lease for 99 years, renewable forever.
(b)  A judgment for renewal of a lease is binding on each person who becomes a party to the action or has been served with process in accordance with Maryland Rule 2-122 and renews the title of all persons interested under the lease for the additional term, under the rent, and upon the covenants, conditions, and stipulations provided in the lease.
(c)  A judgment for the renewal of a lease shall be recorded among the land records of each county in which land that is subject to the lease is located.

§ 8-109

Uninterrupted possession for 12 months after the expiration of the lease containing a covenant for perpetual renewal of all or part of the leased premises by the tenant or any person claiming under the tenant operates as a renewal with respect to the entire premises. It conclusively is presumed in reference to the whole or any part of the leased premises, of which possession is retained, and in favor of the tenant or of the person claiming under the tenant, that a new lease of the whole of the leased premises was executed prior to the expiration of the lease by the landlord named in it, or by the person rightfully claiming under the landlord, to the tenant, or the person rightfully claiming under the tenant for the additional term under the rent and on the covenants, conditions, and stipulations as were provided in the lease.

§ 8-110.

(a)

(1)  This section does not apply to leases of property leased for business, commercial, manufacturing, mercantile, or industrial purposes or any other purpose which is not primarily residential, where the term of the lease, including all renewals provided for, does not exceed 99 years. A lease of the entire property improved or to be improved by any apartment, condominium, cooperative, or other building for multiple-family use on the property constitutes a business and not a residential purpose. The term “multiple-family use” does not apply to any duplex or single-family structure converted to a multiple-dwelling unit.
(2) This section does not apply to irredeemable leases executed before April 9, 1884.
(3) This section does not apply to leases of the ground or site upon which dwellings or mobile homes are erected or placed in a mobile home development or mobile home park.

(b) Except for apartment and cooperative leases, any reversion reserved in a lease for longer than 15 years is redeemable, at the option of the tenant, after a notice of one month to the landlord:

(1) For a sum equal to the annual rent reserved multiplied by:

(i) 25, which is capitalization at 4 percent, if the lease was executed from April 8, 1884 to April 5, 1888, both inclusive;
(ii) 8.33, which is capitalization at 12 percent, if the lease was or is created after July 1, 1982; or
(iii) 16.66, which is capitalization at 6 percent, if the lease was created at any other time;

(2)  For a lesser sum if specified in the lease; or
(3)  For a sum to which the parties may agree at the time of redemption.

(c)  If the lease is executed on or after July 1, 1971, the reversion is redeemable at the expiration of 3 years from the date of the lease. If the lease is executed on or after July 1, 1982 or between July 1, 1969 and July 1, 1971, the reversion is redeemable at the expiration of 5 years from the date of the lease. If the lease is executed before July 1, 1969, the reversion is redeemable at any time.
(d) If a tenant has power to redeem the reversion from a trustee or other person who does not have a power of sale, the reversion nevertheless may be redeemed in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the Maryland Rules.
(e) Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, any regulatory changes made by a federal agency, instrumentality, or subsidiary, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration, the Government National Mortgage Association, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Veterans’ Administration, shall be applicable to redemption of reversions of leases for longer than 15 years.

§ 8-111

If a tenant named in a lease or an assignee of a lease applies to the tenant’s landlord for a renewal under a covenant in the lease giving the tenant the right to renewal, and if the tenant cannot produce vouchers or satisfactory evidence showing payment of rent accrued for three years next preceding the tenant’s demand and application, the landlord, before executing the renewal of the lease or causing it to be executed, is entitled to demand and recover not more than three years’ back rent, in addition to any renewal fine that may be provided for in the lease. The tenant may plead this section in bar of the recovery of any larger amount of rent.

§ 8-111.1

(a)  This section applies to all residential leases or subleases in effect on or after October 1, 1999, which have an initial term of 99 years and which create a leasehold estate, or subleasehold estate, subject to the payment of an annual ground rent.
(b) In any suit, action, or proceeding by a landlord, or the transferee of the reversion in leased property, to recover back rent, the landlord, or the transferee of the reversion in leased property is entitled to demand or recover not more than 3 years back rent.

§ 8-112

If the improvements on property rented for a term of not more than seven years become untenantable by reason of fire or unavoidable accident, the tenancy terminates, and all liability for rent ceases on payment proportionately to the day of fire or unavoidable accident.

§ 8-113

A covenant or promise by the tenant to leave, restore, surrender, or yield the leased premises in good repair does not bind the tenant to erect any similar building or pay for any building destroyed by fire or otherwise without negligence or fault on the tenant’s part.

§ 8-114

The right of a tenant to remove fixtures erected by the tenant is not lost or impaired by the tenant’s acceptance of a subsequent lease of the same premises without any intermediate surrender of possession.

§ 8-115

(a)  If a share of growing crops is reserved as rent, the rent reserved is a lien on the crops.
(b)  In Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Worcester Counties, if a share of growing crops is reserved as rent, or advances by the landlord are made on the faith of the crops to be grown, the reserved rent and advances made are a lien on the crops. However, the contract making the advances shall be written and executed by the landlord and tenant.
(c)  Any lien provided for by this section is not divested by sale by the tenant, the personal representative of a deceased tenant, by the assignment of the tenant in bankruptcy or insolvency, or by process of law.

§ 8-116

(a)  If tobacco is grown on leased property and the tenant fails to make reasonable progress within six months from September 1 to strip and place the tobacco on the market, the landlord may strip, pack, ship, and sell at the tenant’s expense any time after March 1, tobacco grown on the leased premises by the tenant in any previous year. All expenses paid by the landlord in the stripping, packing, shipment, or sale shall be a first and prior lien on the tobacco and the proceeds of the sale, notwithstanding any other agreement or obligation of the tenant or provision of law.
(b)  A tenant or the tenant’s agent, who interferes, directly or indirectly with the stripping, packing, shipment, or sale of tobacco by the landlord, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine of not less than $100 or by imprisonment for not less than 90 days nor more than six months, or both.

§ 8-117

(a)  If a propane gas container with a total capacity of 25 gallons or more is placed on land, whether aboveground or underground, by a person other than the owner of the land under a lease or bailment between the landowner and the person placing the container on the land, the container is movable property during the term of the lease or bailment.
(b)  During the term of the lease or bailment, the ownership of the container:

(1)  Is not affected by the public or private sale of the land on which it is placed; and
(2)  Is not subordinate to the rights of any purchaser of the land at the sale.

§ 8-118.

(a)  In an action under § 8-401, § 8-402, or § 8-402.1 of this title in which a party demands a jury trial, the District Court immediately shall enter an order directing the tenant or anyone holding under the tenant to pay all rents as they come due during the pendency of the action, as prescribed in subsection (b) of this section. The order shall require the rent to be paid as and when due under the lease starting with the next rent due date after the action was filed.
(b)  The District Court shall order that the rents be paid:

(1)  Into the registry of an escrow account of:

(i)  The clerk of the circuit court; or
(ii) If directed by the District Court, an administrative agency of the county which is empowered by local law to hold rents in escrow pending investigation and disposition of complaints by tenants; or

(2)  To the landlord if both the tenant and landlord agree or at the discretion of the District Court.

(c)

(1) In an action under § 8-401, § 8-402, or § 8-402.1 of this title, if the tenant or anyone holding under the tenant fails to pay rent as it comes due pursuant to the terms of the order, the circuit court, on motion of the landlord and certification of the clerk, the landlord, or agency of the status of the delinquent account, shall conduct a hearing within 30 days.
(2)  The District Court’s escrow order and the clerk’s certification are presumed to be valid.
(3)  The tenant may dispute the validity or terms of the District Court’s escrow order or raise any other defense to the tenant’s alleged noncompliance with the order.
(4)  If the circuit court determines that the failure to pay is without legal justification, the court may treat the tenant’s demand for jury trial as waived, and can either immediately conduct a nonjury trial or set the matter for a future nonjury trial on the merits of the landlord’s claim.

(d)  Upon final disposition of the action, the circuit court shall order distribution of the rent escrow account in accordance with the judgment. If no judgment is entered, the circuit court shall order distribution to the party entitled to the rent escrow account after hearing.

§ 8-118.1.

(a)

(1) In an action under § 8-402.3 of this title in which a party demands a jury trial, the District Court immediately shall enter an order directing the person or entity in possession to pay the monthly fair rental value of the premises that is subject to the action, or such other amount as the court may determine is proper, starting as of the date the action was filed, as required in subsection (b) of this section.
(2)  The order shall require the amount determined by the court to be paid within 5 days of the date of the order.

(b)  The District Court shall order that the amount determined by the court be paid:

(1)  Into the registry of an escrow account of the clerk of the circuit court; or
(2)  To the plaintiff if both the defendant and the plaintiff agree or at the discretion of the District Court.

(c)

(1) If the person or entity fails to pay under the terms of the order, the circuit court, on motion of the person or entity claiming possession and certification of the clerk or the plaintiff, if the payment is made to the plaintiff, of the status of the account, shall conduct a hearing within 30 days.
(2)  The District Court’s escrow order and the clerk’s certification are presumed to be valid.
(3)  The person or entity in possession may dispute the validity or terms of the District Court’s escrow order or raise any other defense to the person’s alleged noncompliance with the order.

(d)

(1) If the circuit court determines that the failure to pay is without legal justification, the court may treat the person or entity in possession’s demand for jury trial as waived, and can immediately conduct a nonjury trial or set the matter for a future nonjury trial on the merits of the claim of the person or entity claiming possession.
(2)  If the circuit court, on motion, determines that either party is entitled to possession as a matter of law, the court shall enter a judgment in favor of that party for possession of the property and for any other appropriate relief.

(e)

(1) Upon final disposition of the action, the circuit court shall order distribution of the escrow account in accordance with the judgment.
(2) If no judgment is entered, the circuit court shall order distribution to the party entitled to the escrow account after hearing.

§ 8-201

(a) This subtitle is applicable only to residential leases unless otherwise provided.
(b) This subtitle does not apply to a tenancy arising after the sale of owner-occupied residential property where the seller and purchaser agree that the seller may remain in possession of the property for a period of not more than 60 days after the settlement.

§ 8-202

(a)  For the purposes of this section, a “lease option agreement” means any clause in a lease agreement or separate document that confers on the tenant some power, either qualified or unqualified, to purchase the landlord’s interest in the property.
(b)

(1) A lease option agreement to purchase improved residential property, with or without a ground rent, executed after July 1, 1971 shall contain a statement in capital letters:  THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT TO BUY.
(2) In addition, the agreement shall contain a clear statement of its purpose and effect with respect to the ultimate purchase of the property which is the subject of the lease option.

(c)  If a lease option agreement fails to comply with subsection (b) of this section and is otherwise enforceable, the lease, the lease option agreement, or both may be voided at the option of the party that did not draft the lease option agreement.

§ 8-203

(a)

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Landlord” means a landlord or a prospective landlord.
(3)  “Security deposit” means any payment of money, including payment of the last month’s rent in advance of the time it is due, given to a landlord by a tenant in order to protect the landlord against nonpayment of rent, damage due to breach of lease, or damage to the leased premises, common areas, major appliances, and furnishings.
(4)  “Tenant” means a tenant or a prospective tenant.

(b)

(1) A landlord may not impose a security deposit in excess of the equivalent of two months’ rent per dwelling unit, regardless of the number of tenants.
(2) If a landlord charges more than the equivalent of two months’ rent per dwelling unit as a security deposit, the tenant may recover up to threefold the extra amount charged, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
(3) An action under this section may be brought at any time during the tenancy or within two years after its termination.

(c) The landlord shall give the tenant a receipt for the security deposit as specified in § 8-203.1 of this subtitle. The receipt may be included in a written lease.
(d)

(1)

(i) The landlord shall maintain all security deposits in federally insured financial institutions, as defined in § 1-101 of the Financial Institutions Article, which do business in the State.
(ii) Security deposit accounts shall be maintained in branches of the financial institutions which are located within the State and the accounts shall be devoted exclusively to security deposits and bear interest.
(iii) A security deposit shall be deposited in an account within 30 days after the landlord receives it.
(iv) The aggregate amount of the accounts shall be sufficient in amount to equal all security deposits for which the landlord is liable.

(2)

(i) In lieu of the accounts described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the landlord may hold the security deposits in insured certificates of deposit at branches of federally insured financial institutions, as defined in § 1-101 of the Financial Institutions Article, located in the State or in securities issued by the federal government or the State of Maryland.
(ii) In the aggregate certificates of deposit or securities shall be sufficient in amount to equal all security deposits for which the landlord is liable.

(3) In the event of sale or transfer of the landlord’s interest in the leased premises, icluding receivership or bankruptcy, the landlord or the landlord’s estate, but not the managing agent or court appointed receiver, shall remain liable to the tenant and the transferee for maintenance of the security deposit as required by law, and the withholding and return of the security deposit plus interest as required by law, as to all or any portion of the security deposit that the landlord fails to deliver to the transferee together with an accounting showing the amount and date of the original deposit, the records of the interest rates applicable to the security deposit, if any, and the name and last known address of the tenant from whom, or on whose behalf, the deposit was received.
(4) Any successor in interest is liable to the tenant for failure to return the security deposit, together with interest, as provided in this section.

(e)

(1) Within 45 days after the end of the tenancy, the landlord shall return the security deposit to the tenant together with simple interest which has accrued in the amount of 4 percent per annum, less any damages rightfully withheld.
(2) Interest shall accrue at six-month intervals from the day the tenant gives the landlord the security deposit. Interest is not compounded.
(3) Interest shall be payable only on security deposits of $50 or more.
(4) If the landlord, without a reasonable basis, fails to return any part of the security deposit, plus accrued interest, within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy, the tenant has an action of up to threefold of the withheld amount, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

(f)

(1)

(i) The security deposit, or any portion thereof, may be withheld for unpaid rent, damage due to breach of lease or for damage by the tenant or the tenant’s family, agents, employees, guests or invitees in excess of ordinary wear and tear to the leased premises, common areas, major appliances, and furnishings owned by the landlord.
(ii) The tenant has the right to be present when the landlord or the landlord’s agent inspects the premises in order to determine if any damage was done to the premises, if the tenant notifies the landlord by certified mail of the tenant’s intention to move, the date of moving, and the tenant’s new address.
(iii) The notice to be furnished by the tenant to the landlord shall be mailed at least 15 days prior to the date of moving.
(iv) Upon receipt of the notice, the landlord shall notify the tenant by certified mail of the time and date when the premises are to be inspected.
(v) The date of inspection shall occur within five days before or five days after the date of moving as designated in the tenant’s notice.
(vi) The tenant shall be advised of the tenant’s rights under this subsection in writing at the time of the tenant’s payment of the security deposit.
(vii) Failure by the landlord to comply with this requirement forfeits the right of the landlord to withhold any part of the security deposit for damages.

(2) The security deposit is not liquidated damages and may not be forfeited to the landlord for breach of the rental agreement, except in the amount that the landlord is actually damaged by the breach.
(3) In calculating damages for lost future rents any amount of rents received by the landlord for the premises during the remainder if any, of the tenant’s term, shall reduce the damages by a like amount.

(g)

(1) If any portion of the security deposit is withheld, the landlord shall present by first-class mail directed to the last known address of the tenant, within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy, a written list of the damages claimed under subsection (f)(1) of this section together with a statement of the cost actually incurred.
(2) If the landlord fails to comply with this requirement, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any part of the security deposit for damages.

(h)

(1) The provisions of subsections (e)(1) and (4) and (g)(1) and (2) of this section are inapplicable to a tenant who has been evicted or ejected for breach of a condition or covenant of a lease prior to the termination of the tenancy or who has abandoned the premises prior to the termination of the tenancy.
(2)

(i) A tenant specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection may demand return of the security deposit by giving written notice by first-class mail to the landlord within 45 days of being evicted or ejected or of abandoning the premises.
(ii) The notice shall specify the tenant’s new address.
(iii) The landlord, within 45 days of receipt of such notice, shall present, by first-class mail to the tenant, a written list of the damages claimed under subsection (f)(1) of this section together with a statement of the costs actually incurred and shall return to the tenant the security deposit together with simple interest which has accrued in the amount of 4 percent per annum, less any damages rightfully withheld.

(3)

(i)  If a landlord fails to send the list of damages required by paragraph (2) of this subsection, the right to withhold any part of the security deposit for damages is forfeited.
(ii) If a landlord fails to return the security deposit as required by paragraph (2) of this subsection, the tenant has an action of up to threefold of the withheld amount, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

(4) Except to the extent specified, this subsection may not be interpreted to alter the landlord’s duties under subsections (e) and (g) of this section.

(i) No provision of this section may be waived in any lease.

§ 8-203.1.

(a)  A receipt for a security deposit shall notify the tenant of the following:

(1)  The right to have the dwelling unit inspected by the landlord in the tenant’s presence for the purpose of making a written list of damages that exist at the commencement of the tenancy if the tenant so requests by certified mail within 15 days of the tenant’s occupancy;
(2) The right to be present when the landlord inspects the premises at the end of the tenancy in order to determine if any damage was done to the premises if the tenant notifies the landlord by certified mail at least 15 days prior to the date of the tenant’s intended move, of the tenant’s intention to move, the date of moving, and the tenant’s new address;
(3)  The landlord’s obligation to conduct the inspection within 5 days before or after the tenant’s stated date of intended moving;
(4) The landlord’s obligation to notify the tenant in writing of  the date of the inspection;
(5) The tenant’s 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;
(6) The obligation of the landlord 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; and
(7) A statement that failure of the landlord to comply with the security deposit law may result in the landlord being liable to the tenant for a penalty of up to 3 times the security deposit withheld, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

(b) The landlord shall retain a copy of the receipt for a period of 2 years after the termination of the tenancy, abandonment of the premises, or eviction of the tenant, as the case may be.
(c) The landlord shall be liable to the tenant in the sum of $25 if the landlord fails to provide a written receipt for the security deposit.

§ 8-204

(a) This section is applicable only to single or multi-family dwelling units.
(b) A landlord shall assure the tenant that the tenant, peaceably and quietly, may enter on the leased premises at the beginning of the term of any lease.
(c) If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with possession of the dwelling unit at the beginning of the term of any lease, the rent payable under the lease shall abate until possession is delivered. The tenant, on written notice to the landlord before possession is delivered, may terminate, cancel, and rescind the lease.
(d) On termination of the lease under this section, the landlord is liable to the tenant for all money or property given as prepaid rent, deposit, or security.
(e) If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with possession of the dwelling unit at the beginning of the term of any lease, whether or not the lease is terminated under this section, the landlord is liable to the tenant for consequential damages actually suffered by the tenant subsequent to the tenant’s giving notice to the landlord of the tenant’s inability to enter on the leased premises.
(f) The landlord may bring an action of eviction and damages against any tenant holding over after the end of the tenant’s term even though the landlord has entered into a lease with another tenant, and the landlord may join the new tenant as a party to the action.

§ 8-205

(a)

(1) In Anne Arundel County, unless the tenant makes payment by check or rents the property for commercial or business purposes, if property is leased for any definite term or at will, the landlord shall give the tenant a receipt showing payment and the time period which the payment covers.
(2) On conviction of violating this section, any person or agent shall forfeit the rent for the period in question.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a) of this section, the landlord or landlord’s agent shall give the tenant a receipt if the tenant:

(1) Makes payment in cash; or
(2) Requests a receipt.

(c) In addition to any other penalty, the landlord shall be liable to the tenant in the sum of $25 if the landlord fails to provide a written receipt as required by this section.

§ 8-206.

(a) Evictions described in subsection (b) are called “retaliatory evictions.”
(b) No landlord may evict a tenant of any residential property in Montgomery County because:

(1) The tenant has filed a complaint against the landlord with any public agency;
(2) The tenant has filed a lawsuit against the landlord; or
(3) The tenant is a member of any tenants’ organization.

(c) If the judgment is in favor of the tenant in any eviction proceeding for any of the defenses in subsection (b), the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs against the landlord.
(d) Nothing in this section restricts the authority of Montgomery County to legislate in the area of landlord-tenant affairs.
(e) In addition to any other remedies provided under this title, Montgomery County may, by local law, establish authorization for a local agency to invoke enforcement procedures upon an administrative determination that a proposed eviction is retaliatory as prohibited by State or local law. These enforcement procedures may include injunctive or other equitable relief.

§ 8-207.

(a) The aggrieved party in a breach of a lease has a duty to mitigate damages if the damages result from the landlord’s or tenant’s:

(1) Failure to supply possession of the dwelling unit;
(2) Failure or refusal to take possession at the beginning of the term; or
(3) Termination of occupancy before the end of the term.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) do not impose an obligation to show or lease, the vacated dwelling unit in preference to other available units.
(c) If a tenant wrongly fails or refuses to take possession of or vacates the dwelling unit before the end of the tenant’s term, the landlord may sublet the dwelling unit without prior notice to the tenant in default. The tenant in default is secondarily liable for rent for the term of the tenant’s original agreement in addition to the tenant’s liability for consequential damages resulting from the tenant’s breach, if the landlord gives the tenant prompt notice of any default by the sublessee.
(d) No provision in this section may be waived in any lease.

§ 8-208.

(a)

(1)  On or after October 1, 1999, any landlord who offers 5 or more dwelling units for rent in the State may not rent a residential dwelling unit without using a written lease.
(2)  If a landlord fails to comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection, the term of the tenancy is presumed to be 1 year from the date of the tenant’s first occupancy unless the tenant elects to end the tenancy at an earlier date by giving 1 month’s written notice.

(b) A landlord who rents using a written lease shall provide, upon written request from any prospective applicant for a lease, a copy of the proposed form of lease in writing, complete in every material detail, except for the date, the name and address of the tenant, the designation of the premises, and the rental rate without requiring execution of the lease or any prior deposit.
(c) A lease shall include:

(1) A statement that the premises will be made available in a condition permitting habitation, with reasonable safety, if that is the agreement, or if that is not the agreement, a statement of the agreement concerning the condition of the premises; and
(2) The landlord’s and the tenant’s specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises.

(d) A landlord may not use a lease or form of lease containing any provision that:

(1) Has the tenant authorize any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the lease;
(2) Has the tenant agree to waive or to forego any right or remedy provided by applicable law;
(3)

(i) Provides for a penalty for the late payment of rent in excess of 5\% of the amount of rent due for the rental period for which the payment was delinquent; or
(ii) In the case of leases under which the rent is paid in weekly rental installments, provides for a late penalty of more than $3 per week or a total of no more than $12 per month;

(4) Has the tenant waive the right to a jury trial;
(5) Has the tenant agree to a period required for landlord’s notice to quit which is less than that provided by applicable law; provided, however, that neither party is prohibited from agreeing to a longer notice period than that required by applicable law;
(6) Authorizes the landlord to take possession of the leased premises, or the tenant’s personal property unless the lease has been terminated by action of the parties or by operation of law, and the personal property has been abandoned by the tenant without the benefit of formal legal process;
(7) Is against public policy and void pursuant to § 8-105; or
(8) Permits a landlord to commence an eviction proceeding or issue a notice to quit solely as retaliation against any tenant for planning, organizing, or joining a tenant organization with the purpose of negotiating collectively with the landlord.

(e)

(1) Except for a lease containing an automatic renewal period of 1 month or less, a lease that contains a provision calling for an automatic renewal of the lease term unless prior notice is given by the party or parties seeking to terminate the lease, shall have the provision distinctly set apart from any other provision of the lease and provide a space for the written acknowledgment of the tenant’s agreement to the automatic renewal provision.
(2) An automatic renewal provision that is not specifically accompanied by either the tenant’s initials, signature, or witnessed mark is unenforceable by the landlord.

(f) No provision of this section shall be deemed to be a bar to the applicability of supplementary rights afforded by any public local law enacted by the General Assembly or any ordinance or local law enacted by any municipality or political subdivision of this State; provided, however, that no such law can diminish or limit any right or remedy granted under the provisions of this section.
(g)

(1) Any lease provision which is prohibited by terms of this  section shall be unenforceable by the landlord.
(2) If the landlord includes in any lease a provision prohibited by this section or made unenforceable by § 8-105 or § 8-203 of this title, at any time subsequent to July 1, 1975, and tenders a lease containing such a provision or attempts to enforce or makes known to the tenant an intent to enforce any such provision, the tenant may recover any actual damages incurred as a reason thereof, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

(h) If any word, phrase, clause, sentence, or any part or parts of this section shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction such unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the remaining parts of this section.

§ 8-208.1

(a) No landlord shall evict a tenant of any residential property or arbitrarily increase the rent or decrease the services to which the tenant has been entitled for any of the following reasons:

(1) Solely because the tenant or the tenant’s agent has filed a good faith written complaint, or complaints, with the landlord or with any public agency or agencies against the landlord;
(2) Solely because the tenant or the tenant’s agent has filed a lawsuit, or lawsuits, against the landlord; or
(3) Solely because the tenant is a member or organizer of any tenants’ organization.

(b) Evictions described in subsection (a) of this section shall be called “retaliatory evictions”.
(c)

(1)  If in any eviction proceeding the judgment be in favor of the tenant for any of the aforementioned defenses, the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs against the landlord.
(2) If in any eviction proceeding the court finds that a tenant’s assertion of a retaliatory eviction defense was in bad faith or without substantial justification, the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs against the tenant.

(d) The relief provided under this section is conditioned upon:

(1) In the case of tenancies measured by a period of one month or more, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord.
(2) In the case of tenancies requiring the weekly payment of rent, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 5 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord, or, if the tenant has lived on the premises 6 months or less, the court having not entered against the tenant 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid.

(e) No eviction shall be deemed to be a “retaliatory eviction” for purposes of this section upon the expiration of a period of 6 months following the determination of the merits of the initial case by a court (or administrative agency) of competent jurisdiction.
(f) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord’s or the tenant’s rights to terminate or not renew a tenancy governed by a written lease for a stated term of greater than 1 month at the expiration of the term or at any other time as the parties may specifically agree.
(g) In the event any county or Baltimore City shall have enacted an ordinance comparable in subject matter to this section, that ordinance shall supercede the provisions of this section.

§ 8-208.2

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8-208.1 of this article, a landlord of real property subject to the provisions of Title 6, Subtitle 8 of the Environment Article may not evict or take any other retaliatory action against a tenant primarily as a result of the tenant providing information to the landlord under Title 6, Subtitle 8 of the Environment Article.
(b) For purposes of this section, a retaliatory action includes:

(1) An arbitrary refusal to renew a lease;
(2) Termination of a tenancy;
(3) An arbitrary rent increase or decrease in services to which the tenant is entitled; or
(4) Any form of constructive eviction.

(c) A tenant subject to an eviction or retaliatory action under this section is entitled to the relief, and is eligible for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, authorized under § 8-208.1 of this title.
(d) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord’s or the tenant’s rights arising from a breach of any provision of a lease.

§ 8-208.3

Every landlord shall maintain a records system showing the dates and amounts of rent paid to the landlord by the tenant or tenants and showing also the fact that a receipt of some form was given to each tenant for each cash payment of rent.

§ 8-210

(a)

(1) The landlord of any residential rental property shall include in a written lease or post a sign in a conspicuous place on that property listing the name, address, and telephone number of:

(i) The landlord; or
(ii) The person, if any, authorized to accept notice or service of process on behalf of the landlord.

(2)  If a landlord fails to comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection, notice or service of process shall be deemed to be proper if the tenant sends notice or service of process by any of the following means:

(i)  To the person to whom the rent is paid;
(ii) To the address where the rent is paid; or
(iii) To the address where the tax bill is sent.

(b)

(1) This subsection applies only in Montgomery County.
(2) In this subsection, “development” has the meaning provided in § 11B-101 of this article.
(3)

(i) Before execution by a tenant of a lease for an initial term of 125 days or more, the owner of any residential rental property within any condominium or development shall provide to the prospective tenant, to the extent applicable, a copy of the rules, declaration, and recorded covenants and restrictions that limit or affect the use and occupancy of the property or common areas and to which the owner is obligated.
(ii) The written lease shall include a statement, if applicable, that the obligations of the owner that limit or affect the use and occupancy of the property are enforceable against the owner’s tenant.

§ 8-211

(a)  The purpose of this section is to provide tenants with a mechanism for encouraging the repair of serious and dangerous defects which exist within or as part of any residential dwelling unit, or upon the property used in common of which the dwelling unit forms a part. The defects sought to be reached by this section are those which present a substantial and serious threat of danger to the life, health and safety of the occupants of the dwelling unit, and not those which merely impair the aesthetic value of the premises, or which are, in those locations governed by such codes, housing code violations of a nondangerous nature. The intent of this section is not to provide a remedy for dangerous conditions in the community at large which exists apart from the leased premises or the property in common of which the leased premises forms a part.
(b) It is the public policy of Maryland that meaningful sanctions be imposed upon those who allow dangerous conditions and defects to exist in leased premises, and that an effective mechanism be established for repairing these conditions and halting their creation.
(c) This section applies to residential dwelling units leased for the purpose of human habitation within the State of Maryland. This section does not apply to farm tenancies.
(d) This section applies to all applicable dwelling units whether they are (1) publicly or privately owned or (2) single or multiple units.
(e) This section provides a remedy and imposes an obligation upon landlords to repair and eliminate conditions and defects which constitute, or if not promptly corrected will constitute, a fire hazard or a serious and substantial threat to the life, health or safety of occupants, including, but not limited to:

(1) Lack of heat, light, electricity, or hot or cold running water, except where the tenant is responsible for the payment of the utilities and the lack thereof is the direct result of the tenant’s failure to pay the charges;
(2) Lack of adequate sewage disposal facilities;
(3) Infestation of rodents in two or more dwelling units;
(4) The existence of any structural defect which presents a serious and substantial threat to the physical safety of the occupants; or
(5) The existence of any condition which presents a health or fire hazard to the dwelling unit.

(f) This section does not provide a remedy for the landlord’s failure to repair and eliminate minor defects or, in those locations governed by such codes, housing code violations of a nondangerous nature. There is a rebuttable presumption that the following conditions, when they do not present a serious and substantial threat to the life, health and safety of the occupants, are not covered by this section:

(1) Any defect which merely reduces the aesthetic value of the leased premises, such as the lack of fresh paint, rugs, carpets, paneling or other decorative amenities;
(2) Small cracks in the walls, floors or ceilings;
(3) The absence of linoleum or tile upon the floors, provided that they are otherwise safe and structurally sound; or
(4) The absence of air conditioning.

(g) In order to employ the remedies provided by this section, the tenant shall notify the landlord of the existence of the defects or conditions. Notice shall be given by

(1) a written communication sent by certified mail listing the asserted conditions or defects, or
(2) actual notice of the defects or conditions, or
(3) a written violation, condemnation or other notice from an appropriate State, county, municipal or local government agency stating the asserted conditions or defects.

(h) The landlord has a reasonable time after receipt of notice in which to make the repairs or correct the conditions. The length of time deemed to be reasonable is a question of fact for the court, taking into account the severity of the defects or conditions and the danger which they present to the occupants. There is a rebuttable presumption that a period in excess of 30 days from receipt of notice is unreasonable.
(i) If the landlord refuses to make the repairs or correct the conditions, or if after a reasonable time the landlord has failed to do so, the tenant may bring an action of rent escrow to pay rent into court because of the asserted defects or conditions, or the tenant may refuse to pay rent and raise the existence of the asserted defects or conditions as an affirmative defense to an action for distress for rent or to any complaint proceeding brought by the landlord to recover rent r the possession of the leased premises.
(j)

(1) Whether the issue of rent escrow is raised affirmatively or defensively, the tenant may request one or more of the forms of relief set forth in this section.
(2) In addition to any other relief sought, if within 90 days after the court finds that the conditions complained of by the tenant exist the landlord has not made the repairs or corrected the conditions complained of, the tenant may file a petition of injunction in the District Court requesting the court to order the landlord to make the repairs or correct the conditions.

(k) Relief under this section is conditioned upon:

(1) Giving proper notice, and where appropriate, the opportunity to correct, as described by subsection (h) of this section.
(2) Payment by the tenant, into court, of the amount of rent required by the lease, unless this amount is modified by the court as provided in subsection (m).
(3) In the case of tenancies measured by a period of one month or more, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord.
(4) In the case of periodic tenancies measured by the weekly payment of rent, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 5 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord, or, if the tenant has lived on the premises six months or less, the court having not entered against the tenant 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid.

(l) It is a sufficient defense to the allegations of the tenant that the tenant, the tenant’s family, agent, employees, or assignees or social guests have caused the asserted defects or conditions, or that the landlord or the landlord’s agents were denied reasonable and appropriate entry for the purpose of correcting or repairing the asserted conditions or defects.
(m) The court shall make appropriate findings of fact and make any order that the justice of the case may require, including any one or a combination of the following:

(1) Order the termination of the lease and return of the leased premises to the landlord, subject to the tenant’s right of redemption;
(2) Order that the action for rent escrow be dismissed;
(3) Order that the amount of rent required by the lease, whether paid into court or to the landlord, be abated and reduced in an amount determined by the court to be fair and equitable to represent the existence of the conditions or defects found by the court to exist; or
(4) Order the landlord to make the repairs or correct the conditions complained of by the tenant and found by the court to exist.

(n) After rent escrow has been established, the court:

(1) Shall, after a hearing, if so ordered by the court or one is requested by the landlord, order that the moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to the landlord after the necessary repairs have been made;
(2) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that some or all moneys in the escrow account be paid to the landlord or the landlord’s agent, the tenant or the tenant’s agent, or any other appropriate person or agency for the purpose of making the necessary repairs of the dangerous conditions or defects;
(3) May, after a hearing if one is requested by the landlord, appoint a special administrator who shall cause the repairs to be made, and who shall apply to the court to pay for them out of the moneys in the escrow account;
(4) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that some or all moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to pay any mortgage or deed of trust on the property in order to stay a foreclosure;
(5)  May, after a hearing, if one is requested by the tenant, order, if no repairs are made or if no good faith effort to repair is made within six months of the initial decision to place money in the escrow account, that the moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to the tenant. Such an order will not discharge the right on the part of the tenant to pay rent into court and an appeal will stay the forfeiture; or
(6) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that the moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to the landlord if the tenant does not regularly pay, into that account, the rent owed.

(o)  Except as provided in § 8-211.1(e) of this subtitle, in the event any county or Baltimore City is subject to a public local law or has enacted an ordinance or ordinances comparable in subject matter to this section, commonly referred to as a “Rent Escrow Law”, any such ordinance or ordinances shall supersede the provisions of this section.

§ 8-211.1.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law or any agreement, whether written or oral, if a landlord fails to comply with the applicable risk reduction standard under § 6-815 or § 6-819 of the Environment Article, the tenant may deposit the tenant’s rent in an escrow account with the clerk of the District Court for the district in which the premises are located.
(b)  The right of a tenant to deposit rent in an escrow account does not preclude the tenant from pursuing any other right or remedy available to the tenant at law or equity and is in addition to them.
(c) Money deposited in an escrow account shall be released under the following terms and conditions:

(1) To the lessor upon compliance by the lessor with the applicable risk reduction standard; or
(2) To the lessee or any other person who has complied with the applicable risk reduction standard on presentation of a bill for the reasonable costs of complying with the applicable risk reduction standard.

(d) A lessee may not be evicted, the tenancy may not be terminated, and the rent may not be raised for a lessee who elects to seek the remedies under this section. It shall be presumed that any attempt to evict the lessee, to terminate the tenancy, or to raise the rent, except for nonpayment of rent, within two months after compliance with the applicable risk reduction standard is in retaliation for the lessee’s proceeding under this section and shall be void.
(e) This section shall preempt any public local law or ordinance concerning the deposit of rent into an escrow account based upon the existence of paint containing lead pigment on surfaces in or on a rental dwelling unit in the State and disposition of that rent.

§ 8-212.1

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, if a person who is on active duty with the United States military enters into a residential lease of property and subsequently receives permanent change of station orders or temporary duty orders for a period in excess of 3 months, any liability of the person for rent under the lease may not exceed:

(1)  30 days’ rent after written notice and proof of the assignment is given to the landlord; and
(2)  The cost of repairing damage to the premises caused by an act or omission of the tenant.

§ 8-213

(a)  An application for a lease shall contain a statement which explains:

(1)  The liabilities which the tenant incurs upon signing the application; and
(2)  The provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(b)

(1)

(i)  If a landlord requires from a prospective tenant any fees other than a security deposit as defined by § 8-203(a) of this subtitle, and these fees exceed $25, then the landlord shall return the fees, subject to the exceptions below, or be liable for twice the amount of the fees in damages.
(ii)  The return shall be made not later than 15 days following the date of occupancy or the written communication, by either party to the other, of a decision that no tenancy shall occur.

(2)  The landlord may retain only that portion of the fees actually expended for a credit check or other expenses arising out of the application, and shall return that portion of the fees not actually expended on behalf of the tenant making application.

(c)  This section does not apply to any landlord who offers four or less dwelling units for rent on one parcel of property or at one location, or to seasonal or condominium rentals.

§ 8-214.

(a)

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Elderly person” means an individual who is 60 years old or older.
(3)  “Landlord” means an owner of residential rental property who offers more than 3 dwelling units for rent on 1 parcel of property or at 1 location.

(b)  This section applies only to Montgomery County.
(c) If a tenant is an elderly person, a landlord may not prohibit the tenant from keeping a household pet, unless specifically prohibited in writing at the time occupancy took place.
(d) A tenant is liable for any damage done to the premises by the tenant’s pet.
(e) A landlord may establish reasonable rules governing the type, size, and number of pets allowed, disposal of pet waste, and aspects of pet conduct and pet control related to protection of the health and safety of other tenants and the property of the landlord.

§ 8-301.

(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meaning indicated unless otherwise apparent from context.
(b) “Court” means the District Court.
(c) “Defendant” means a tenant.
(d) “Distress” means an action of distress filed pursuant to the provisions of this subtitle.
(e) “Goods” means goods, chattels, grain, growing crops, produce, unborn young of animals, inventory, and equipment regardless of where found or located, and includes cash money found on the leased premises. “Goods” does not include choses in action, other forms of intangible property, written contracts, securities, bonds, notes, or other instruments for the payment of money.

§ 8-302.

(a) Distress for rent is an action at law and shall be brought as provided in this section.
(b) Jurisdiction in a case of distress for rent is vested exclusively in the District Court regardless of the amount of rent for which distress is brought, notwithstanding any limitation imposed by law on the civil monetary jurisdiction of such court.
(c) An action of distress may be brought only for unpaid rent under a written lease for a term of more than three months, or under a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy that has continued more than three months.
(d) An action of distress shall be brought in the county where the leased premises lie.

§ 8-303.

(a) An action of distress shall be brought by the landlord as plaintiff, the landlord’s petition shall name the tenant as defendant and contain the following information:

(1) The name and address of the landlord;
(2) The name and address of the tenant; and
(3) The facts relating to

(i) any assignment of a lease, if known,
(ii) the premises leased,
(iii) the date of the lease,
(iv) the term of the lease,
(v) the rent required to be paid by the lease, and
(vi) the amount of the rent in arrears.

(b) The petition shall be under oath or affirmation of the plaintiff, or the plaintiff’s agent, that the facts recited are true and correct.
(c) If a defendant is not a resident of, or amenable to service in a county where the leased premises are located, service may be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United States Postal Service.