Rental lease agreements are a very common form of contract between the parties, stating the conditions of a residential or commercial lease of property. These documents mainly state the responsibilities of the parties, the landlord and the tenant, and other relevant rules and details of a lease agreement. The “lessor” and the “lessee” (or “leaseholder”) are other terms used for referring to the parties.
The lease ensures a better rental experience for both parties. Disputes over damages or rent are very common, so having an agreement that clearly defines the rules is beneficial for everyone and a fair dispute process. A good rental lease agreement can even prevent such disputes.
Both parties should be aware of what is in the lease and take time to make the decision. Read the lease carefully before signing it. If there is more than one tenant, then all co-tenants should see the agreement and sign it.
Verbal agreements are possible in Maryland (if the period of lease is under a year), but they are rare. Most citizens prefer to have a written lease agreement, which is a more secure option for everyone involved.
Certain rules and obligations of the lessor and the lessee have to be outlined in a rental agreement. While others are highly recommended to be included in one, a few are optional.
A security deposit (sometimes also called “a damage deposit”) is an amount of money paid to the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy to cover any damages or outstanding rent. In Maryland, there is a limit on how big a damage deposit can be—it should not be more than two months’ rent.
In Maryland, the landlord should create a receipt from the tenant for the deposit. You can include it in the agreement text for convenience.
There cannot be deductions to the security deposit for what is called “normal wear and tear”. Normal wear and tear is any damage to the property that happens during appropriate use of the property or items that come with the property.
The security deposit should be returned to the tenant with or without deductions within 45 days from the termination of the tenancy. The landlord should create a list of deductions with the actual costs.
If the tenant has not paid their rent on the date specified in the agreement, the landlord can charge the tenant for the late payment. However, these fees cannot be more than 5% of the rent amount.
Like in many other states, the laws do not regulate how much notice the landlord should give to the tenant before entering the premises. Technically, the landlord can come to the property at any time they want, but this can be changed in the lease agreement. If this is important for the tenant, they should ask for such a clause to be included in the lease. The most common solution is to say that the landlord can visit the property at reasonable times and with reasonable notice if they need to do any repair works or conduct an inspection.
In case of a delayed rent payment, the lessor can go to court. The tenant has five days to appear in court. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant still has four days to vacate the property. They can stay if they pay everything back, including the court fees.
First of all, landlords must provide disclosure on lead-based paint for houses built before 1978.
The points that should be outlined by a lease agreement:
The following topics can also be covered: