Renting is an increasingly common choice for those who don't want to own a home or are on a budget. It is also not uncommon for landlords or lease-holders to have a month-to-month agreement with their tenants. Like most states, Maryland has specific laws concerning month-to-month rental agreements.
Unsubsidized vs. Subsidized
If a month-to-month lease is not federally subsidized, as in the case of Section 8 or other federally subsidized housing, both the landlord and the tenant have the right to terminate the rental agreement. One months written notice is mandatory from the party that wants to end the lease. In Montgomery County and Baltimore City, two months notice is necessary. If it is a subsidized rental, the landlord may only terminate for valid reasons, such as non-payment or rent.
In Maryland, a month-to-month agreement may be valid and binding on both parties, whether it is verbal or in writing. It is illegal for a landlord to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement for retaliatory reasons. If a tenant made complaints about the condition of the leased property for reasons such as heating, repairs or similar complaints, the landlord may not end the lease to get rid of the tenant and/or avoid making the requested adjustments.
As in most states, a month-to-month agreement does not afford a leasee the same degree of financial protection as a standard one-year lease in which the rent amount is fixed for the duration of the lease. A landlord in a month-to-month agreement has the right to raise the rent from one month to the next. Deposits however, may not be greater than two months rent and should be deposited in an interest bearing account. Likewise, Maryland law does not allow the landlord to charge more than a five percent late penalty.
If a tenant is behind on rent and a landlord wants to terminate the rental agreement, he must seek a court order. The landlord may not evict or take possession of the tenants personal property in an attempt to force rent payment or terminate the month-to-month lease. To find out more about Maryland landlord tenant law, residents should contact the Maryland Attorney General website or office.