Landlord and Tenant Laws in Maryland

When it comes to renting a house in the Maryland location, every state has its own laws laid out for both landlords and tenants.  These laws protect both parties in various situations and provide the framework for rental agreements. If you’re looking to rent a house in Maryland, here are a few of the most important laws you need to know.

Security Deposits

Maryland law puts a limit on how much money a landlord can require for a security deposit.  A landlord cannot hold more than two months’ rent as a deposit and is required to return money owed within 45 days of the tenant vacating the property.  A landlord who asks for more than the total of two months’ rent is breaking the law.

Withholding Rent

Did you know that in some cases, it is within your rights to withhold your rent?  A rental agreement between a tenant and landlord lays out all the responsibilities of both parties.  If the landlord does not uphold their end of the bargain, you can hold your rent money until they do.  For instance, if a landlord refuses to take care of an imperative repair, such as a broken water heater, you can keep your rent until they do.

Tenant Protections

A number of laws are specifically geared toward protecting the tenant.  One example a law that protect tenants from retaliation of the landlord when practicing their legal rights.  If a tenant complains to the authorities about unsafe living conditions, landlords are not allowed to take action against them.  Evictions, handling abandoned property, and fair housing rights are also all covered through Maryland laws.

In addition to state and federal laws, Maryland cities or counties could have their own laws as well.  When looking for property to rent in Maryland, take the time to read tenant/landlord laws for the state as well as the county and town you’re looking to move to.  

What Should I Do if I Am in Tax Default in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC

Though we don’t always want to think about the worst case scenarios of homeownership, they can happen. Tax default is one of them.

What is Tax Default?

Tax default happens when you don’t pay property taxes for a duration of time set by your county. The past-due amount becomes what is known as a tax lien on your house. Your house cannot be sold without paying off the lien. Eventually, the lien can be sold to someone at auction, called a “Tax Sale”. The winning bidder will collect interest on the tax lien and eventually be able to take over ownership of your house, if you don’t pay off your delinquent tax amount with interest.

What Should You Do?

If you know are in tax default or know a tax sale is coming, your options are limited. Presumably, you don’t have the money to pay the back taxes. If this is the case and you have equity in your house, your best bet is to sell.

Since the typical home-selling process can take up to 6-months before a buyer closes on the house, you want to consider real estate investment companies who will pay, in cash, for the house in just a few days time. That way, you will receive the proper compensation for the value of your home, and be free of the impending governmental burden that will be used against you for back taxes, fees, and interest.

At 8 Day Home Sale, we are here to help, and we buy houses in Maryland, Virginia, Baltimore, and Washington DC for cash. Contact us if you are facing tax default.

What to Watch Out for When You are Closing on Your House Sale in Maryland

As a house seller, there isn’t a bigger relief than to finally close on selling your house. You managed to find the right buyer and got the deal you wanted, so there are just a few steps to go through and you will be ready to move on. After all you’ve been through to sell this house, you probably see the closing as the easiest part. Well, it can be, if everything runs smoothly, but it’s usually easier said than done. It’s best to prepare for worst case scenarios or at least know what things could go wrong so you can be prepared to handle them. Don’t know what to watch out for when you are closing on your house sale in Maryland? Then the following details may prove to be more than useful:

Take care of all the repairs you have to do

If the buyer agreement states that you are going to take care of making the repairs necessary to pass on the house in good condition, then you should do them now. It is true that no one feels motivated to work on a house that is almost sold, but leaving the repairs to the last minute is not a good option at all. Make sure you allow sufficient time to make all the needed repairs or there may be problems during the buyer’s final walkthrough. Save all the invoices released by the contractors you hired and receipts for the items you purchased so you will have proof of everything you did in case the buyer contests the repairs before you actually close the deal.

Get ready for the final walkthrough

Just before the closing, in most cases 24 hours prior to the closing, the buyer accompanied by his agent will walk through each room of the house. You should not be present at the final walkthrough, which doesn’t last for more than half an hour in most cases. Make sure that everything is in order. They will look to see whether you repaired what you promised to repair and if the house has any major issues that they don’t know about. If they find something wrong, you will be notified right away, getting the chance to repair the problem or settle for a trade.

Check out the closing documents

If everything goes according to plan, all you’re left to do is to read and sign papers to close your house sale in Maryland. Although it may not be that exciting to read all the papers, do know that some are more important than others. For instance, you need to read the settlement statement, because it contains the amount of money you agreed upon with the buyer and the tax implications of earning such a sum through selling your house. You’ll have to check the numbers to see whether they correspond with your verbal agreement, so you can point out any issues to your attorney or real estate agent in a timely manner.

Renegotiations

There are cases in which the buyer would like to renegotiate right before closing. No one wishes to get to this point, but you might just listen to what the buyer has to say since you gotten this far. Maybe you can settle if you agree to offer the dishwasher and dryer. If the buyer wishes to get a smaller price, then maybe there’s no other option but to delay the closing until you manage to reach another settlement or find a solution to the problem. It’s easier to negotiate than file an expensive, time consuming lawsuit.

Free Lease Agreement Template

So you’ve bought your first rental property. You spent months of researching homes, crunching numbers for positive cash flow, visiting homes on the market, calling realtors, negotiating with loan officers, considering property management companies, reading countless rental property tips blogs, etc. The process was tough, but you’ve made it to the next phase: landing your first tenants.

After positing rental listings on Craigslist and Zillow, you’ve found some potential rental property tenants. You then realize: I don’t have a lease agreement! Real estate laws are complicated and vary from state to state and county to county. You don’t have the money to hire an expensive contract lawyer.

Don’t fret! 8 Day Home Sale has put together a Lease Agreement template. While this lease agreement template is tailored for Maryland, it is generic enough to apply to most states/counties. In addition to establishing a standard rental contract based on monthly payments between the landlord and seller, the lease agreement:

  • Enables the landlord to require a security deposit
  • Protects the landlord from liabilities i.e. breaking of local laws
  • Prohibits unsafe activities i.e. smoking
  • Absolves the landlord of appliance maintenance responsibilities

The lease agreement can be easily modified and clearly marks where details need to be filled in. The rental agreement template is available for download as a docx and pdf.

Download: .docx or .pdf