A reader asks for the Web site and government office that provides a handbook of landlord-tenant laws and regulations in Baltimore and its surrounding counties. The reader wants to know if there are any differences in the rights depending on whether you live or own property in the city or the surrounding counties.
Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. maintains an excellent Web site for information on state and local landlord-tenant laws at www.bni-maryland.org.
The group publishes a landlord-tenant guide, which can be viewed online and downloaded. A paper copy can be ordered by phone at 410-243-6007 or 800- 487-6007.
Another useful legal information Web site is www.peoples-law.org. Supported by Maryland's nonprofit legal services providers, this site includes a summary of Maryland landlord-tenant law, codified in the Real Property Article of the state code, as well as links to local laws.
The city and counties have regulations that supplement state landlord-tenant laws. Special housing laws for the city, for example, require smoke detectors in all dwellings; require landlords to give tenants a copy of a written lease; provide tenants of single-family dwellings with a right of first refusal when the landlord decides to sell the property; allows the District Court to establish rent escrow for defective conditions in a dwelling unit; and establishes responsibilities for landlords to provide heat, trash removal and maintenance of exterior and public areas of rental housing.
The materials published by these two organizations are a must for tenants and landlords.