Rental Licenses

Some of the most common questions we are asked by Maryland landlords pertain to licensing – and that’s understandable, considering requirements for rental properties may vary considerably from one county to the next. Aside from determining whether they need a rental license, landlords must also determine what inspections may be required as part of the license application process. The following is an brief overview of rental requirements for some central Maryland counties; however, if you have any questions regarding whether your property needs a license, it is important to speak with the county directly or speak with an attorney. Some counties have specific exemptions, for example, for people in the military, so it is important to fully determine if you need a rental license prior to renting your property.

Anne Arundel County

If you are renting out rooms, portions of rooms, apartments, or units in a building, you’ll need a Multiple Dwelling License There are some exceptions – for example, if you live in one half of a duplex and rent out the other half, you don’t need a rental license. To apply for the MDL, landlords must first contact Anne Arundel County Zoning Enforcement to obtain a Zoning Certificate of Use, and provide documentation of other required inspections. If you are renting a single family dwelling in Annapolis, you will need a rental license.

Baltimore County Rental License

In Baltimore County, if your rental building contains six units or fewer, you must register each unit, and the fees vary, depending on whether you live in the building and how many tenants you have. You’ll need a state-licensed inspector to go through each unit and complete an inspection sheet, which you’ll submit with your license application. If your property lies within Baltimore City, additional requirements may apply. City code requires the registration of property, regardless of whether it’s habitable or generating rental income.

Carroll County

Landlords owning rental property in the City of Westminster must apply for licensing not through Carroll County, but through the City. If a building contains four or more units, landlords need submit only one Rental Housing License Application. If a landlord lives more than 50 miles away from the property, he or she must designate a local agent. The current rental licensing rules may be subject to change. Westminster’s Rental Housing License Program became effective on June 1, 2013, under Ordinance No. 839. Unless the Mayor or Common Council extends the program, it will be in effect only through May 31, 2016.

Howard County

Howard County requires that landlords have rental licenses; however, some people may be landlords without even realizing it. For example, if someone is living with you in your home and paying rent to you, or if you’re renting your condo to a family member, Howard County requires you to have a rental license. Large properties – such as hotels and assisted living facilities – can be costly to license. As of January 2016, annual licensing costs for hotels were $55 per room, and assisted living facilities were $93.50 per sleeping room.

Other Counties

Frederick and Washington Counties and some other counties do not require rental licenses for landlords. But because the laws vary depending on city or county, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully aware of licenses specific to an area. The state also requires certain actions from landlords, such as the registration of properties that may contain lead paint. If you own a property built before 1978, state law requires you to register the property, attempt to mitigate lead paint hazards, and inform tenants that lead may be present in the dwelling. Ensuring that you’ve completed all the necessary steps to license and operate your property can save you from certain legal complications in the future. Lusk Law, LLC specializes in assisting landlords, helping to avoid litigation when possible and actively representing our clients in court when litigation is necessary. Our experienced attorneys have provided legal counsel and representation to landlords in Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, and Anne Arundel County, and other counties in Maryland. With over a decade of experience in representing landlords, we’re ready to offer a consultation concerning your rights. Please call us at 443-535-9715 or fill out our contact form if you have any questions about licensing or other topics.