Silver Spring, MD asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland

Q: Good morning If the landlord doesn’t have a renters license what legal action can I take or what rights do I have

Landlord is asking me to vacate property by February 29, 2024

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Rental license laws are local to the county (or City of Baltimore) where you live, and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Without knowing your location it is difficult to be clear on what laws apply. Also, the type of rental unit matters. Renting a room in someone’s house with a common entrance and/or kitchen privileges is typically exempt from the licensing requirements. If you are in a wholly separate unit with its own private entrance and no free access to the rest of the home, or you are renting a unit in a place separate from where the landlord resides (a condo unit, townhouse or single family home) and the jurisdiction you are in requires a rental license, then the landlord cannot enforce the lease, cannot sue you for rent or past due rent, and the courts will deny the landlord the right to sue in landlord tenant court for repossession of the premises. You can also file a complaint with the landlord-tenant affairs office of your local jurisdiction over the unlicensed property. That will trigger an inspection, fine and other actions. However, it may also result in the county determining that the rental is not legally allowed to be used as a residence which could impact you staying there. That process will take time. Generally, you can tell the landlord you will vacate when you find a suitable place to move on your own time, and in the meantime, stop paying anymore rent since he cannot unforced his lease. But I would recommend that you consult a lawyer or talk to your local government office of landlord tenant affairs to confirm the licensing requirements for your particular unit and your legal rights under the local laws. Less than 30 days notice to vacate is generally illegal even in legally licensed units.

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