Maryland Rental Lease Agreements
The Maryland Rental Lease Agreements establish an arrangement for a landlord to lease a residential property for a predetermined period of time to a tenant in exchange for monthly rent payments. Typically, contracts must provide guidance on the following matters, to name but a few:
- Rent Amount ($);
- Utilities and Services;
- Start and End Dates (unless month-to-month);
- Maximum Number of Guests; and
So long as they do not contravene state or federal landlord-tenant laws, parties may include any number of provisions unique to their particular contract.
What is a Maryland Lease Agreement?
A Maryland Lease Agreement is a legally-binding document that establishes parameters for the lease of a residential property. Signees are required to uphold the specified duties relevant to them to ensure their legal obligations are met. Landlords looking for a means to streamline the tenant selection process are advised to require any prospective tenants to complete a rental application form.
State Definition (§ 1-101.(h)) – “means any oral or written agreement, express or implied, creating a landlord and tenant relationship, including any “sublease” and any further sublease.”
Types of Agreements
College Roommate Agreement – Specifies rules, ranging from bedtime to guest policy, that college students dorming together must follow.
Commercial Lease Agreement – An agreement entered into by landlords with a commercial property to lease, and businesses wanting to formalize the leasing of the property.
Lease to Own Agreement – Otherwise called a Lease-Purchase Contract, this agreement provides a legal means for tenants to buy a rental property from the landlord.
Month-to-Month Lease – The distinction between a month-to-month lease and a standard lease is that the former sets out conditions for a shorter-term, periodic tenancy, while the latter sets out conditions for a longer-term tenancy of twelve (12) months or more.
Roommate Agreement – Roommates sharing the same rental property are recommended to enter into this agreement to ensure all parties are fully aware of as well as accountable for their responsibilities in the shared household.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – An agreement based on Maryland state law regarding the lease of a rental property for a fixed period of time.
Sublease Agreement – Including basic conditions such as the rent amount, start and end date, and obligations for sublessor and sublessee to uphold, this contract makes the terms of a sublease legally-binding.
When is Rent Due?
Maryland law does not stipulate when rent is due. The lease agreement should thus specify when it is due, which is typically on the first day of the month. Similarly, state law also does not specify about a grace period. However, in accordance to § 8-208(d)(3), landlords may include a section in the lease agreement about late payments that allows for them to charge a maximum of five (5) percent of the amount of rent due for the rental period for which the payment was late.
If the rent is paid in weekly installments, the late fee may be more than three dollars ($3.00) per week or a total of no more than twelve dollars ($12.00) per month. If the landlord so chooses to, they may include in the lease a grace period before the late payment fee is imposed.
Emergency: State statutes are silent regarding landlord access during emergency situations, however, the right for landlords to enter a rental dwelling during such situations is stipulated by federal law.
Non-Emergency: Likewise, state statutes do not make mention of landlord access in non-emergency situations. Landlords are therefore advised to only enter at reasonable times with reasonable notice. That is, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, with at least twenty-four (24) hours notice given.
- Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers (§ 8-210): The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the landlord or anyone authorized to act on their behalf must be listed in the written lease or posted on a sign in a conspicuous place on the rental property.
- Habitation (§ 8-208): Landlords must state in the lease that the rental premises will be “made available in a condition permitting habitation, with reasonable safety.” Additionally, the lease should outline the landlord’s and the tenant’s specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises
- Lead Paint Disclosure: As dictated by federal law, landlords of dwellings constructed before 1978 must inform tenants of any known lead paint hazards, and must also provide them with the pamphlet, Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home.
Security Deposit Laws
Maximum (§ 8–203(b)(1)): Regardless of the number of tenants in a rental dwelling, a landlord cannot demand a security deposit that is in excess of the equivalent of two (2) months’ rent per dwelling.
Returning to Tenant (§ 8–203(e)): The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant, complete with simple interest which has accrued in the amount of three (3) percent per annum within forty-five (45) days, minus any damages withheld. Should the landlord withhold any portion of the total amount of the security deposit, the landlord must present a written list of the damages claimed by first-class mail directed to the last known address of the tenant within forty-five (45) days after the termination of the tenancy. The cost actually incurred should also be specified in the list.