What is the Renters’ Rights and Stabilization Act of 2024?

What is the Renters’ Rights and Stabilization Act of 2024?

House Bill 693 made several important changes to existing Maryland landlord-tenant law:

Nonpayment of Rent Complaints

The cost for a landlord to file a Failure to Pay Rent Complaint has increased from $8 to $43 per case (plus an additional $10 in Baltimore City), in addition to the cost of service.

A landlord is not permitted to recover this cost from a resident unless a court enters a judgment for possession in the landlord’s favor as well as the lease agreement provides a surcharge may be assessed against the resident.

Any deduction for this surcharge, if awarded by the court, may not be recovered from a tenant in an amount that exceeds the amount of the tenant’s security deposit.

Security Deposits

A landlord may not charge a security deposit in excess of one (1) month’s rent with very limited exception. This is a change from prior law which permitted a landlord to charge a security deposit of up to two months’ rent. The security deposit may not be forfeited to the landlord for breach of a lease, except in the amount the landlord is actually damaged by a breach, or the amount of a surcharge authorized by law.

Maryland Tenants’ Bill of Rights

The Renters Rights and Stabilization Act creates an Office of Tenant and Landlord Affairs to ensure that residents have access to educational resources to aid in understanding and exercising tenants’ rights under state law, provides residents with information on how to report a violation of their legal rights, offer residents information on how to obtain financial counseling, and notify authorities regarding housing discrimination. The Office of Tenant and Landlord Affairs has been tasked with developing a Maryland Tenants’ Bill of Rights.

Landlords must provide residents with a copy of the most current version of the Maryland Tenants’ Bill of Rights published by the Office of Tenant and Landlord Affairs at lease signing.

Tenants’ Right of First Refusal

House Bill 693 amends Section 8-119 of the Real Property Article and mandates the owner of residential rental property to send each resident a written notice of the tenant’s right to deliver an offer to purchase the property, subject to certain exceptions, prior to listing the residential rental property for sale. The law governing this right of first refusal for residential residents is quite detailed and if a property owner fails to comply with its obligations, a resident may file a notice of lis pendens which would interfere with closing on a sale of property.

The majority of the changes imposed by the Renters Rights and Stabilization Act will go into effect on October 1, 2025, and will impact all Maryland landlords and property owners.

House Bill 693: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2024RS/fnotes/bil_0003/hb0693.pdf