Maryland landlord/tenant laws outline a strict set of guidelines regarding many aspects of the rental agreement process from security deposits to eviction. Read on to learn more about landlord/tenant law in Maryland, but keep in mind that procedures may vary depending on the specific county or city jurisdiction and local codes.
An application fee is an amount of money paid to the landlord prior to signing a lease for a prospective tenant’s application to become a tenant. Not all landlords require prospective tenants to pay an application fee, but many use the charge to cover the costs associated with processing an application and examining the background of the prospective tenant. In the state of Maryland, a landlord may keep an application fee of $25 or less if the applicant chooses another apartment, or if the applicant is rejected. However, if the landlord refuses to return an application fee that is more than $25, the tenant is entitled to a receipt of incurred expenses.
The security deposit protects the landlord against damage to the rental property, failure to pay rent, and other circumstances that result in a breach of the lease. The deposit may not be more than two month’s rent, and the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a receipt for payment, which receipt may be included in the lease. The landlord must place the security deposit into an escrow account, and return the security deposit (plus interest) to the tenant within 45 days after the lease ends, unless there are damages to deduct from the security deposit, in which event, such damages must be accounted for and included in written notice to the tenant within the same 45 days.
The Eviction Process
If a tenant is in breach of contract, you must go to District Court to obtain a judgment for possession. A landlord generally cannot move the tenant’s belongings from the rental property, change the locks, or cut off utilities until the legal procedure has been satisfied. After the landlord begins an eviction proceeding, the tenant will receive an official court notice of a trial date to determine the parties’ rights with regard to the rental property. If the Judge approves the eviction and following a warrant of restitution, a sheriff or constable will arrive at the tenant’s rental property on the scheduled day and order them to leave. The tenant may appeal an eviction judgment, but it must be made within four days of the judgment date. A tenant may stop some evictions for non-payment of rent by paying the rent that the Court determines was due.
A “holdover tenant” is an individual who remains in the rental property after the lease has ended. If your tenant is holding over, they are at risk of owing money for damages, being sued, and being evicted from the rental property. Avoid the possibility of tenant holdovers, and ensure that you, the landlord, go over the lease efficiently with the tenant. Tenants are also recommended to read the lease thoroughly. Make several copies to lease.
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