Maryland does not have any statewide rent control measures in place. However, individual cities and counties can enact their own rent control laws if they choose. Therefore, landlords are allowed to raise rents as much as they see fit, provided there are no local maximum rent increase limits.
In most cities and counties in Maryland, landlords are permitted to raise the rent whenever they see fit, as long as they provide the proper written notice. However, federal and state law does prohibit rent increases for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
The Federal Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination in the housing market against a tenant based on their race, disability, familial status, religion, color, or sex. So, they cannot increase the rent solely to keep a certain group from renting from them. Montgomery and Frederick County also have laws in place to prevent discrimination based on the tenant’s source of income.
Maryland law also prohibits rent raises for retaliatory purposes, which means the increase occurs directly after an action taken by the tenant. So, if you complained to the landlord about a leaking roof and were suddenly hit with an unexpected rent increase, you could file a complaint with the appropriate local agency.
In most places in Maryland, landlords can raise the rent as often as they wish as long as the terms of the lease are honored. So, if you have a 1-year lease, rent increases are only permitted once per year unless there is a specific clause that allows mid-term rent increases. But if it’s a month-to-month lease, they can raise it whenever so long as they give the proper notice. However, certain cities and counties impose their own limits. For instance, in Montgomery County, it’s limited to one per year across the board, while in Takoma Park, it’s also limited to one per year unless it’s approved by the Commission on Landlord and Tenant Affairs.
The amount of notice required when raising the rent in Maryland varies depending on the length of the lease term and ranges from 7 to 90 days:
- 7 days' notice is required for a week-to-week written lease
- 21 days' notice is required for a week-to-week oral lease
- 60 days' notice is required for a month-to-month written lease
- 90 days’ notice is required for a one-year lease
The notice must be provided in writing and delivered by hand or via first-class mail unless the landlord and tenant both agree to deliver notices and updates through some other method such as email, text message, or online portal.
Individual cities and counties are allowed to implement their own rent control measures. For instance, in Takoma Park, the local government sets the maximum rent increase per year based on the increase in the general cost of goods determined by the Consumer Price Index. The current rent increase allowance is 3.7%, which is in effect until June 30, 2024. They also require that landlords provide at least two months’ notice before raising the rent.
In Montgomery County, rent increases are limited to 3% plus inflation (based on the CPI), with a hard cap of 6%. They are also the strictest on providing notice, and landlords must alert tenants to any rent increases at least 90 days before they go into effect, regardless of the lease term.
Mount Rainer also recently passed a law that will cap the maximum rent increases to 60% of the CPI in buildings that are at least 15 years old.
Maryland’s rent control laws can be confusing as they vary from place to place. Some cities and counties have very strict rules, while others have no rent control laws on the books. But whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it’s important to understand the local rent control laws to ensure you’re adequately protected and abiding by the proper regulations.