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What are local laws?
There are three different types of laws: federal, state, and local. Local laws are passed by your local government, whether it is your city council or county council. Local laws can be your county’s laws or city or municipality’s laws. Local laws apply only within the specific county or city governed by the body that passed the laws.
Note that “local laws” are also used to refer to public local laws. These are the laws that are passed by the Maryland General Assembly (state legislature) that only apply to specific cities or counties. These laws are incorporated into the county or city's code. While these are also local laws in the sense that they apply at the local level only, they are outside the scope of this article because these types of local laws generally are confined to subjects of local interest only, which usually does not include housing
Why should I check local laws?
Rental and housing laws vary from county to county. It is important to check local laws because these laws apply to you.
Some cities (or municipalities) have their own separate housing laws. Some counties or cities have a separate housing or zoning code.
Often, local laws provide tenants with additional protections. Local laws can also lay out specific requirements for landlords. Both landlords and tenants should check their local housing laws.
Remember, state and federal laws still apply. So, you will need to review these laws within the larger context of Maryland state laws and federal laws.
Where to find local laws?
For most Maryland counties, you can view the county’s laws online. Many municipalities also have their local laws available online. The Thurgood Marshall State Law Library has a directory of county codes and city/municipal codes that provides links to the laws available online.
If your county or city does not have its laws available online, you can contact the county or city government directly for this information. The Maryland Archives provides a directory of county governments.
Your local public library may also have a print copy of the local laws. A directory of Maryland Public Libraries is available online.
Your local law library is another good resource for local laws. Learn more about finding law libraries in Maryland.