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Real Estate: Leases and Licenses

Because of “abuses in the industry” by landlords for decades, residential landlord tenant relations are strictly regulated.

LEASES for houses and residential units are controlled by the State Real Property Article Title 8 Subtitle 2 (as well as County Code and City Code). A store-bought lease form is unlikely to contain all the numerous statutorily mandated clauses. At a minimum, the Lease must include a separate page for a Receipt for the Security Deposit, and the Lease and the Receipt must contain a clear listing of all of the Tenant’s rights to inspections of the Rental Unit at the beginning and end of the Lease, as well as all of the other Tenant’s rights. The Landlord must maintain the security deposit is a separate escrow account, and must credit interest at 3% per year on the security deposit. Failure to carefully follow the Security Deposit Statute and promptly account for charges against the deposit by letter to the tenant within 30 days of the Tenant’s departure will expose landlords to a tenant lawsuit for triple the deposit plus legal fees. Make sure your Lease form complies with all requirements for residential leases in the State and County and City Codes.

LICENSES for houses and residential units are also a pitfall for Landlords. A residential unit must be licensed in order for a Landlord to file a Failure to Pay Rent Complaint (“summary ejectment”) to evict for non-payment of rent. Proof of the license is a necessary element of proof for the eviction. In the City of Annapolis all rental houses and rental units must be licensed (the only exception is for a house rented only for Commissioning Week and Boat Shows). In the County all rental units in multi-family dwellings must be licensed (the only exception is a single family home, or a legal accessory apartment in an owner occupied single family home). All of these licensing codes are highly complex, and the safest route for a landlord is to visit the City or County Permits Offices and obtain a license or a written verification that a license is not necessary. Call one of our experienced Real Estate Attorneys at Hillman, Brown & Darrow today for further information.