Legal Options

Disability Law

  • This article discusses recently passed legislation that provides additional support for individuals with disabilities and their families when they rent living space.

Starting a Lease

  • You can use the list of questions below to check an apartment before you move in.
  • There are times when a tenant needs a co-signer. Sometimes a tenant, through frugal spending habits, can actually pay the required rent, but doesn’t meet the basic income requirements of the industry.
  • You have a right to carefully inspect an apartment or house before you put a deposit on it and especially before you sign a lease.
  • A lease is any oral or written agreement, express or implied, creating a landlord-tenant relationship.
  • This article defines what a security deposit is and what is required of tenants and landlords.

Property Conditions and Rent

  • In all residential leases in Baltimore City, whether oral or written, it is implied that the landlord covenants and warrants that the dwelling is fit for human habitation.
  • Baltimore City has a number of special laws regarding lead paint abatement.
  • When a landlord delays unreasonably or refuses to repair a condition which threatens the life, health or safety of the tenant, the rent escrow law provides several remedies, including the payment of rent into court so that the accumulated funds may be used to pay for repairs.
  • Where there are certain serious defects in a dwelling and the landlord has failed to correct them within a reasonable time, this law permits the tenant to pay the rent into court so that funds may accumulate and be used to pay for needed repairs.
  • The law requires some residential properties to have carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Landlords have responsibility to use ordinary care to keep common areas in safe condition.
  • Maryland state law prohibits the landlord from taking possession of the premises or tenant’s property without legal process. Should a lockout occur, the tenant has the right to hire a locksmith, change the locks, re-enter the premises, and hold the landlord responsible for the cost involved.
  • When a tenant vacates a property, items which have been so attached to or associated with the property that in the eyes of the law they are considered part of the property may not be removed by the tenant.
  • If you live in or own an older house, lead paint may harm pregnant women or young children.
  • Tenants must return the premises at the end of the tenancy in substantially the same condition as when he moved in.
  • During the tenancy, the tenant is entitled to "quiet enjoyment" of the premises.
  • The article describes the process of going to rent court. Landlords can take their tenants to rent court to evict them for nonpayment of rent.
  • This article lists many question you might have with rent escrow.
  • Rent escrow provides a process through which a tenant pays rent into a court account instead of to the landlord until the landlord makes needed repairs. You can file a petition to establish a rent escrow account in your local District Court by filling out a "Petition in Action of Rent Escrow" form.
  • Landlords must assure that tenants get possession of the premises, but retain a right to enter the premises for reasonable purposes.
  • Residential requirements for smoke alarms and sprinkler systems


  • Baltimore City has a law proscribing how a landlord may dispose of a former tenant's possessions after the tenant has been evicted.
  • This article describes the conditions and requirements for a landlord to evict a tenant for breaching the lease.
  • If a tenant, a family member or guest or someone under the tenant's control in public, Section 8, or HUD Housing is involved in criminal activity, the housing authority does not have to provide a hearing before filing a breach of lease action in District Court.
  • This article describes when a tenancy may be terminated in public housing, Section 8, and HUD properties.
  • This article describes the procedure for eviction for failure to pay rent, known as "summary ejectment".
  • Whether it was with permission or without it an owner may file a Wrongful Detainer action in District Court to evict a non-tenant who refuses to leave
  • In an eviction proceeding for non-payment of rent, breach of lease, or holding over, if either tenant or landlord asks for a jury trial, tenant must pay into an escrow account all rent as it becomes due during the course of the action.
  • It is against the law in Maryland for a landlord to evict a tenant just because the tenant has brought suit against the landlord or participated in a suit against the landlord.
  • Distress for rent is a court procedure in which the landlord seeks to seize and sell certain of the tenant's possessions which are on the leased premises.

Transfers during a Lease

  • The condominium system of separate ownership of the individual units of multi-unit dwellings has become increasingly common since it was introduced in the United States in the 1950's. In Maryland, the owner of any property - an occupied apartment building as well as vacant, unimproved land - may subject that property to condominium ownership by following the procedure prescribed by law.
  • Laws passed in the wake of the foreclosure crisis beginning in 2008 give more protection to tenants in foreclosed properties.
  • Covers what happens when the property is sold, there is a tax sale, or the property is converted to a condominium.
  • A sublease is an agreement in which the original tenant leases to a subtenant all or part of the rented premises for all or part of the remainder of the original tenant's term.

Ending a Lease

  • Leases are binding contracts between the landlord(s) and the tenant(s). Maryland law imposes certain conditions on that contract such as limiting late fees to 5% of a monthly rental payment, but in those areas where the law does not impose limits, the landlord and tenant are free to negotiate their own agreement.
  • Terminating a lease in Public, HUD, or Section 8 housing must follow correct procedure.
  • Sample agreement to be signed by landlords and tenants.
  • This articles lists the requirements for terminating or modifying a tenancy. It also covers what happens if a tenant or landlord dies.



  • A “residential lease” is a contract between a landlord and a renter, giving the renter the right to live in a house or apartment. This article gives a brief outline of several common concepts having to do with residential leases, and the duties of landlords and renters.

Senior Citizens

Youth Law

  • There are times when a tenant needs a co-signer. Sometimes a tenant, through frugal spending habits, can actually pay the required rent, but doesn’t meet the basic income requirements of the industry.
  • A lease is a contract. A minor is generally not bound by his or her contracts. This means that, if a minor enters into a contract, the law will allow the minor to "void" the contract.

Civil Rights

  • Federal and state law prohibits discrimination in the rental, sale, advertising and financing of housing on the basis of your race, color, religion, gender, national origin, family status.


Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – © Maryland State Law Library, 2015.”

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