Maryland Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent Rules

Find out Maryland rent rules, including limits on late fees, notice requirements for rent increases, and notice required for terminating a tenancy for nonpayment of rent.

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 your security deposit and what items it may be applied against (for example, it should not be applied against reasonable wear and tear)
  • the amount of a pet fee, if any, and whether it is actually a non-refundable fee, or a refundable deposit
  • 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 might also apply, particularly in communities such as Takoma Park which has a rent stabilization ordinance.

Maryland State Laws 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 (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-208(d)(3)).

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, 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 and Discrimination

Retaliation. Maryland landlords may not retaliate against a tenant who makes a good faith complaint relating to the rental unit or rental premises by

  • bringing, or threatening to bring, an action for possession against the tenant
  • arbitrarily increasing the rent, or
  • decreasing the services to which a tenant has been entitled. (Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-208.1.)

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.

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. (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).)

Rent Stabilization in Maryland

Maryland has no statewide rent control, but at least one city (Takoma Park) has rent stabilization laws that limit how much rent landlords may charge or the frequency of rent increases.

Maryland Guide to Tenant Rights

The Maryland Attorney General’s website contains information about how Maryland landlords and tenants can avoid disputes.

Maryland Landlord-Tenant Laws

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.

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