Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord’s key rent rules, including:
- the amount of rent
- where rent is due (such as by mail to the landlord’s business address)
- when rent is due (including what happens if the rent due date falls on a weekend date or holiday)
- how rent should be paid (usually check, money order, cash, and/or credit card)
- the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase rent
- the amount of any extra fee if your rent check bounces, and
- the consequences of paying rent late, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.
State laws in Maryland cover several of these rent-related issues, including limits on late fees, the amount of notice a landlord must provide to increase rent under a month-to-month tenancy, and how much time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction. Local rules may also apply, particularly in communities such as Takoma Park and College Park which have rent stabilization ordinances.
Maryland Rules on Late Fees
Rent is legally due on the date specified in your lease or rental agreement (usually the first of the month). If you don’t pay rent when it is due, the landlord may begin charging you a late fee. Under Maryland law, late fees cannot exceed 5% of the rent due.
Amount of Notice Maryland Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent
Maryland landlords must give tenants at least one month’s notice (in writing) to increase rent or change another term of a month-to-month rental agreement. Two months’ notice is required in Montgomery County (single-family rentals excepted) and Baltimore City. Different rules apply in cities with rent stabilization, including College Park and Takoma Park. And if you have a long-term lease, landlords may not increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.
Rent Increases as Retaliation or Discrimination
Maryland landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race. Also, Maryland landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against you for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to your legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater.
Maryland State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent
States set specific rules and procedures for ending a tenancy when a tenant has not paid the rent. Maryland landlords may file for eviction immediately, and must give tenants at least five days’ notice to appear in court. If the tenant does not pay and the landlord wins, the tenant has four days to vacate. If the tenant pays all back rent and court costs before the end of the trial, the tenant can stay.
Rent Stabilization in Maryland
Maryland has no statewide rent control but a few cities have rent stabilization laws that limit how much rent landlords may charge or the frequency of rent increases. These cities include:
- College Park, Maryland. For details, including the properties covered, see the city website at http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/Documents/Public%20Services/Rent%20Stabilization%20FAQ.pdf, and
- Takoma Park, Maryland. For details, including the properties covered, see the city website at http://www.takomaparkmd.gov/hcd/landlordtenants.htm.
For general information on rent control, see the related Nolo article on the subject.
Maryland Guide to Tenant Rights
For an overview of tenant rights when it comes to paying rent under Maryland landlord-tenant law, see http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/forms/civil/dccv082tbr.html#health.
Maryland State Laws on Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent-Related Issues
For state rent rules and procedures on issues such as raising rent, see Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] §§ 8-208(d)(3), 8-402(b)(3), and (b)(4).
For Maryland laws on termination for nonpayment of rent, see Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-401.
Also, check your mayor’s or city manager’s office for local landlord-tenant laws that may affect your rent.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.