Maryland Law on Tenant Rights

By Marcello Viridis
Maryland has state regulations governing leases.

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While most tenant rights are governed by what is negotiate and set forth in the lease or rental agreement, all leases must comply with Maryland's landlord-tenant regulations. Additionally each lease include certain rights that are implied and exist without needed to be specifically states in words.

Right to Possession

A tenant has the right to gain actual physical possession of the premises at the start of the lease. A tenant who fails to gain possession at the start of the lease may either withhold or prorate rent until he gains possession or can void the lease and demand reimbursement for any funds he deposited to obtain the premises. Additionally, the tenant may sue for any damages suffered by not being able to gain possession of the premises.

Implied Right to Privacy

A tenant has the right to privacy of the premises without undue interference from the landlord. Under this right, a landlord may not enter a tenant's rented space without first giving the tenant notice unless it is an emergency.

Implied Right to Quiet Enjoyment

In Maryland, a landlord is bound by the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment of the premises. This covenant or promise requires that a tenant be free from any undue disturbance that will effect their enjoyment of the premises. For example, a chronic or long-term problem, such as a leaking roof or gas leak, that prevents a tenant from fully enjoying his home is a breach of the covenant. Additionally, in Maryland, landlord are also required to guarantee that tenants do no unduly disturb each other. A breach of this covenant allows a tenant to void the lease and sue for moving expenses.

Right to Sublease

Subleasing occurs when the original leaseholder transfers his right the lease for a specific period of time where the sublessee is required to honor the terms of the lease. Under Maryland law, unless the lease requires a landlord's consent to sublease, a tenant has the right to sublease to any third party. Moreover, if the lease does require consent against subleasing, Maryland law requires that the landlord's demand be reasonable, such as a legitimate fear that the sublessee will not be able to pay rent.

Right to Habitability

Every residential tenant has the right to demand that the premises are fit for basic human living. While the standard is determined by local housing codes, at a minimum a premises must have running water, heat in the winter and adequate protection from the weather.

About the Author

Marcello Viridis has been "working in writing" for the past six years. Since publishing his first article in 2004, he has written on a range topics from working and living overseas for the Wall Street Journal's Black Collegian website to legal essays for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Viridis has a B.A. from Pomona College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School.