Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord’s key rent rules, including:
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 might also apply, particularly in communities such as Takoma Park which has a rent stabilization ordinance.
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 (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-208(d)(3)).
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, such as 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.
Retaliation. Maryland landlords may not retaliate against a tenant who makes a good faith complaint relating to the rental unit or rental premises by
Discrimination. Under Maryland and federal housing discrimination laws, a landlord may not discriminate against a tenant, or rental applicant, in rent rates or terms on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or familial status.
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. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-401.)
If the tenant does not pay and the landlord wins, the tenant has four days to vacate. If the tenant pays all back rent, fees and court costs before actual execution of the eviction order, the tenant can stay. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-401(e).)
The Maryland Attorney General’s website contains information about how Maryland landlords and tenants can avoid disputes.
Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws can be found at Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] §§ 8-101-812.
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 might affect your rent.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.