Bel Air, MD asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland

Q: What can a landlord do legally during a home inspection? Is there anything illegal that could happen?

We have a home inspection with a very controlling, disgruntled landlord who does not believe we have any rights. It’s a verbal lease and he believes that he is law.

Can he legally go through, shift, move, touch anything that is ours during the inspection? What rights do tenants have during this to protect privacy?

For example, opening medicine cabinets, deliberately looking at medications or etc, moving boxes or furniture, shifting clothing in closets.

Also for example, in regards to inappropriate comments made on personal effects, decor, or organization of items on top of a dresser.

2 Lawyer Answers
Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You should repost this query under the heading Landlord-Tenant to get the best advice.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You don't have a written ease. Therefore, the landlord can point to no provision in that "oral" lease that provides him with a right of inspection. He can't come barging into your private residence any time he chooses. He cannot touch or disturb, or rummage through or snoop though, your personal possessions and private papers. Where a right to inspection is permitted under a lease, it must be exercised upon reasonable notice and times, limited to reasonable purposes such as for routine maintenance and safety checks. You do not state what county you are in, but most counties have local laws regulating landlord tenant matters, and many require written leases as well as impose a license requirement on the landlord, which subjects the property to county housing authority and inspection requirements to confirm the property is up to code. In such counties that require licensing (Montgomery, PG, Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore County and City, etc.), the failure of the landlord to be licensed forfeits their right to use the courts to enforce their leases or to sue for unpaid rent or breach of the lease. Some of these jurisdictions have landlord-tenant offices where you can file complaints and trigger action against the non-compliant landlord.

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