Tenant Law in Maryland
Relations between tenants and landlords in Baltimore, Maryland can sometimes be touchy. The fact is that it's not easy to be a landlord or a tenant, especially because landlords and tenants often don't understand the legal rights and responsibilities that apply to them.
Landlords and tenants have to navigate a web of legal rights and obligations. It's essential that the parties to a landlord/tenant relationship know what obligations they have to one another.
Landlord's Rights in Baltimore, MD
First and foremost, landlords have a right to timely payment of rent from their tenants, at the agreed-upon rate. This, of course, imposes on tenants a duty to pay their rent in full, in a timely manner.
Also, landlords have a right to be compensated for damage a tenant causes to a rented unit, either intentionally or negligently. Landlords have a right to deduct repair costs from tenants' security deposits, unless the damage was caused by normal wear and tear, for which tenants are not liable.
Tenant's Rights in Baltimore, MD
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to provide. Landlords in Baltimore, Maryland are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are several factors that are considered in determining if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Furthermore, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of Baltimore, Maryland. Furthermore, any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Maryland law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Furthermore, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
Finally, tenants in most states have a right to be free from unfair eviction. Generally, lease agreements last for a set period of time, and both parties are bound by that contract. Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict clients while the lease is still in effect.
Can a Baltimore, Maryland Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants usually prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for obvious reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Baltimore, Maryland landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.