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Maryland Residential
Lease Agreement for
Rental Properties

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Overview

Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.

In Maryland, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Maryland landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.

This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a lease agreement Maryland considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Maryland lease template for download!

A Maryland lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease must adhere to Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.

The following components should be included in every Maryland lease agreement. Keep in mind that these components primarily apply to residential leases; a Maryland commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.

Lease Term

This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.

Rent

Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. There are no statewide rent control laws in Maryland, which means landlords can charge whatever reasonable amount they want for rent. However, some cities and counties in Maryland may have their own rent control regulations, so be sure you’re aware of which laws apply to your region.

Late Fees

The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In Maryland, although there is no mandatory grace period for rent, late fees are restricted to 5% of monthly rent or less (MD Code, Real Property § 8-208(d)(3)). All Maryland lease agreements should clearly state the landlord’s late fee policy so that tenants know exactly what will happen if they are late to pay rent.

Security Deposit

This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.

The maximum or limit for security deposits according to Maryland law is two months’ rent (MD Code, Real Property § 8-203(b)(1)). This means landlords cannot charge more than the equivalent of two months’ rent for any deposit securing a residential lease.

Maryland has several other laws that regulate other aspects of security deposits. All security deposits in Maryland must be kept separate from other funds and deposited in a federally insured bank within 30 days after it is received. Security deposits in Maryland also accrue interest, which landlords are required to pay to tenants at a rate of 1.5% per year or the amount accrued at the daily US Treasury yield curve rate for one year, whichever is greater. If the deposit was less than $50 or the lease lasted less than six months, no interest is required (MD Code, Real Property § 8-203(d-e)).

Lastly, Maryland landlords are required to return security deposits to tenants (minus any deductions) within 45 days after the lease ends (MD Code, Real Property § 8-203.1(a)(5)).

Every Maryland rental agreement should clearly describe the security deposit policy, including the deposit amount, when/how it will be returned, and the conditions under which funds may be withheld from it.

Required Disclosures

This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. Required disclosures must be included in a lease agreement Maryland considers compliant, or else disclosed in a separate written notice to the tenant.

In Maryland, the required disclosures are:

  • Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
  • Landlord/agent identification – Landlords in Maryland mut provide tenants with the name, address, and phone number of the person authorized to manage the property/accept notices.
  • Security deposit receipt – Maryland landlords must provide a receipt for all security deposits.
  • Shared utilities – If a Maryland landlord uses a ratio utility billing system, they must disclose how the utility fees are allocated between tenants.

Landlord Right to Entry

In Maryland, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. However, most landlords provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering an occupied unit for a non-emergency reason. Be sure to include the landlord’s right of entry in your Maryland rental lease.

Repairs & Maintenance

The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Maryland rental lease should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.

Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures

This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.

A Maryland lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Maryland, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: A ten-day pay or quit notice for nonpayment, a 30-day quit notice for lease violations, or a 14-day unconditional notice to quit for dangerous or harmful behavior. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.

Community Rules

Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Maryland sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.

Joint and Severability Clause

This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.

Signatures

Both the landlord and tenant will sign the lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.

Maryland Lease Agreement Download

To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable Maryland lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Maryland state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.

Conclusion

Understanding the nuances of a Maryland residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Maryland lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Maryland lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.