Q: How far in advance can a rent to own agreement be drawn out for in Maryland?
If someone doesn't have the credit bandwidth to purchase a property from an owner in say 2-3 years as is typical. Could the contract be written for a longer period say, the length of the original owner's mortgage?
A: There is no limit on the freedom to contract between two willing parties. Rent to own contracts are rarely great deals for the buyer, because they pay a premium above market rate rent to build "equity" as a down payment toward purchase. Fixing a purchase price over a longer period becomes more difficult as market prices fluctuate over time. Most rent-to-own buyers never ultimately qualify to buy the property, so all that extra money they paid to live there goes to line the seller's pocket. But such contracts can work for the right buyer.
It is worth noting that any leasehold arrangement longer than 7 years generally must be recorded among the Land Records and that recordation tax may be due on the recording. For this reason it is not common in Maryland to have a lease with a term greater than 7 years.
See Md. Ann Code Real Property 3-101 and Md. Ann Code Tax Property 12-105
A variety of legal concerns may arise when trying to create any kind of lease option, "rent to own" or land installment contract, so it would be prudent to consult with an attorney before entering into any such arrangement. While not legal advice I hope that this helps answer the question.
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