How To Legally Break A Lease In Maryland?

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How To Legally Break A Lease In Maryland
When Breaking a Lease Is Justified in Maryland

  1. You Are Starting Active Military Duty.
  2. You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault.
  3. The Rental Unit Is Unsafe or Violates Maryland Health or Safety Codes.
  4. Your Landlord Harasses You or Violates Your Privacy Rights.

Can you terminate a lease early in Maryland?

Tenants sometimes want or need to break a lease. Breaking a lease means to end a lease before its termination date. A lease is a binding contract between a landlord and a tenant. Maryland law requires that a lease limit late fees to 5% of a monthly rental payment, but in areas where the law does not impose limits, the landlord and tenant are free to negotiate their own agreement.

  • This is true about early termination of a lease agreement.
  • Some written leases have a section which provides a way for tenants to cancel the lease.
  • For example, some leases contain a section that allows a tenant who wants to end the lease early to pay the equivalent of two months’ rent in advance of moving, and give sixty days written notice of the moving date.

Then the lease will be terminated. Maryland law does not generally provide the right to break a lease for good cause. If a tenant wants to break a lease that does not have a cancellation section, Maryland law permits early termination of a lease only under certain circumstances.

These include certain situations where continuation of the tenancy becomes a severe hardship for the tenant, and certain situations where the tenant has been called to military duty. Read the law: Md. Code, Real Property § 8-212.1 Maryland law also allows an early end to a tenancy under certain medical circumstances, with a doctor’s certification.

Read the law: Md. Code, Real Property § 8-212.2 If you do not meet any of these conditions, you may try to negotiate an early termination agreement with your landlord. Otherwise, you are generally responsible for rent until the end of the lease or until the unit is re-rented, whichever comes first.

Q -“I signed a lease in the morning. That afternoon, I asked that the lease be canceled. The landlord refused. Doesn’t the law give me time to change my mind?” A – No. The law does not give you time to change your mind. (Maryland law allowing for a three day contract cancellation period only covers activities of door-to-door salespeople, health club memberships and certain credit transactions.) Q – “The landlord and I signed the lease, but I haven’t moved in yet.

The landlord has found someone who is willing to pay more rent and has told me I can get my money back, but I can’t move in. Can the landlord do this to me?” A – No. The landlord would be breaking his/her promise to you as made in the lease. If the landlord refuses to let you move into the property, you could sue for a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and obtain damages, including the difference between what you now have to pay in rent at another location and what you would have paid in rent under the broken lease.

  1. Q -“Can I break the lease if management doesn’t properly maintain the property?” A – The answer is that it depends.
  2. If the property is so poorly maintained that it is no longer tenable to live there, a tenant may be able to go into District Court under the Rent Escrow Law (and in Baltimore City, under the Warranty of Habitability) and have a judge void the lease.

In addition, if a tenant vacates a property because of the severity of the conditions, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord for constructive eviction and have the court void the lease and give the tenant money damages. The remedies of Rent Escrow, Warranty of Habitability and Constructive Eviction are somewhat complicated and it is advisable to seek assistance before trying to use them in court.

The Legal Aid Bureau (for income eligible clients), Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (for income eligible clients), or a private attorney may be able to provide you with more detailed information tailored to your particular situation. Normally, if the landlord is not maintaining the property well, you would file a complaint with the local housing inspector and send a letter by certified mail to the landlord noting the items you want repaired.

If a housing inspector issues a violation notice, and the landlord does not fix the issue within a reasonable time, you may be able to go to court. If the repairs needed are substantial, you can file a rent escrow case, asking the court to let you pay the rent money into a court escrow account (not directly to the landlord) until the repairs are finished.

  1. In Baltimore City, you may also be able to file a warranty of habitability case.
  2. The court can even order that the rent be reduced for the period of time that the landlord failed to make repairs.
  3. Q -“I am continually disturbed by noisy tenants, and the landlord refuses to remedy the situation.
  4. Is this grounds for me to break the lease?” A – It may be grounds to break the lease if you have given your landlord notice of the problem, an opportunity to remedy the problem, and the problem still continues.

In all Maryland leases, the landlord has made an agreement, called the covenant of quiet enjoyment, to make sure that his/her rental property is a safe and quiet place to live. If other tenants are disturbing you by their noise, you should contact your landlord in writing about the situation specifying when the tenants have disturbed you and the nature of the disturbances.

  1. Then, you must give the landlord a reasonable time to remedy the situation.
  2. If the landlord contacts the tenants about the noise, but the tenants do not voluntarily stop disturbing you, the landlord may be obligated to send the tenants a notice to vacate for breach of the lease.
  3. If the tenants do not vacate and do not stop disturbing you, the landlord would then have to take the tenants to court for breach of the lease.

This process could take several months. You must give the landlord at least that much time to remedy the situation. If however, after a reasonable time has passed, the landlord has not moved to have the tenants vacate, you may file an action in District Court for the landlord’s failure to assure quiet enjoyment of the premises.

You can then decide to stay in the property and get money damages or ask the court to end the lease and award damages to cover moving expenses. Obviously, the outcome of the case will depend upon your ability to prove the situation. This is certainly a less risky procedure than moving and then arguing constructive eviction either in a suit you bring against the landlord or as a defense against the landlord’s suit for lost rent.

However, if you find it impossible to continue your tenancy because of conditions in the property or because of a breach of your quiet enjoyment, you may move and argue that you were constructively evicted. Q -“I have been transferred some distance away and it takes too long to commute.

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Does the law allow me to break the lease?” A – You are still bound by the lease unless your lease provides for early termination due to job dislocation. Some leases have a specific section which addresses this issue, but many do not. For example, some leases will allow for termination of the lease if you change jobs to a location more than fifty miles away.

Q -“I am in the military and have been stationed in another part of the country. May I break my lease? A – Maryland law does allow a person on active military duty who has received a temporary duty order for a period of more than three months or an order for permanent change of station to end a lease by providing written notice and proof of assignment.

  1. The tenant who provides the proper notice will be responsible for no more than 30 days rent and the cost of repairing any damage to the premises caused by the tenant.
  2. Read the law: Md.
  3. Code, Real Property § 8-212.1 Q -“I am buying a house.
  4. Can I break the lease?” A – You may still be obligated for lost rent.

Because few tenants are able to make the ending of the lease coincide with the purchase of a house, unless you reach an agreement with your landlord or there is a cancellation section in your lease, you will be responsible for the rent which is due for the remainder of the lease.

However, the landlord must try in good faith to rent the property to someone else after you leave, to reduce the amount of rent money the landlord loses. If the landlord rents the property after you leave and before your lease ends, you will be responsible for the rent up until the time of new rental, as well as any costs the landlord sustained in having to rent the property again.

Those costs may include the cost of advertising, for example. In addition, if the new tenants do not pay their rent during the time left in your original lease, you may also be responsible for this lost rent. Q -“I need to break my lease in order to find a cheaper apartment.

I have lost my job and simply cannot afford to stay in the apartment. What will happen?” A – You may have trouble obtaining another apartment if your new landlord checks with your current landlord. Since your landlord can hold you responsible for payments due under the lease until he finds a new tenant, a prospective landlord may question whether you can afford to pay both the old rent and the new.

Even if you find a new rental, the original landlord can sue you for lost rent, as well as the costs of finding a new tenant. Furthermore, a judgment against you may be reported to a credit agency. If you are working, or when you get a job, the landlord who has a judgment against you may be able to garnish your wages.

However, if you can no longer afford to pay the rent, you can try to negotiate a cancellation of the lease agreement with your landlord. Q – “What is the responsibility of the landlord when a tenant breaks a lease?” A – The landlord must make a reasonable effort to mitigate damages by trying to rent the apartment as soon as possible.

He can’t hide the fact that your apartment is now available, but he doesn’t have to put your apartment ahead of other vacancies. The landlord has a duty to mitigate the damages if the damages result from the landlord’s or tenant’s:

Failure to supply possession of the leased premises; or Failure or refusal to take possession at the beginning of the lease term; or Termination of occupancy before the end of the term.

A landlord is not required to show or lease a prematurely vacated dwelling unit in preference to other units he is offering. Read the law: Md. Code Real Property § 8–207 Q -“May the landlord refuse to allow me to sublet the property?” A – A landlord does not have to allow subletting to anyone who is not qualified, but in general, a landlord cannot arbitrarily refuse to allow subletting or leasing to another qualified tenant.

If he did this, he would not be mitigating his damages. Q – “What if I become ill and have to move to a nursing home or relative’s house?” A – If you give your landlord the required doctor’s certification and notice of termination before you leave the property, the landlord cannot charge you for more than two months’ rent after the date you leave.

This provision does not apply if your contract already allows you to terminate the lease with written notice of one month or less, and limits your liability to two months’ rent or less after the date you leave. Read the law: Md. Code, Real Property § 8-212.2 Q -“What if the landlord sells the property during the term of my lease?” A – The new owner takes over all the rights and responsibilities of the former owner under the lease agreement.

How much does it cost to break a lease in Maryland?

1. Your tenant uses an early termination clause – Do you have an early termination clause in your Maryland lease agreement? If so, you cannot penalize a tenant for using it under state law. An early termination clause allows a tenant to terminate their lease early as long as they meet certain conditions.

Can tenant terminate lease early?

What landlords can do when tenants break their lease early There are a number of possible reasons that could arise that lead to a tenant wanting to terminate their lease agreement before it has run its course, however, is it possible for them to get out of a lease agreement without being in breach of the contract? “The answer to the question will depend on the cancellation clause within the lease agreement.

Unless there are grounds for cancellation of the agreement, which is stipulated in the cancellation clause, it can be rather difficult to get out of a lease agreement without any recourse,” explains Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. Even if the lease agreement doesn’t contain a cancellation clause, the tenant can still be considered to be in breach of the agreement if they decide to terminate the contract prematurely.

If the tenant has breached the contract, the landlord is within their rights to demand that the tenant pays the rental amount due to them for the remainder of the agreed upon tenancy period. If a landlord has met all the conditions of the lease, the tenant cannot simply terminate the lease agreement.

Do you have to give 60 days notice at the end of a lease in Maryland?

Maryland Termination Lease Letter Form | 60-Day Notice How To Legally Break A Lease In Maryland Updated August 08, 2022 Or use an attorney at to write this letter. A Maryland Lease Termination Letter Form is a useful letter template that satisfies GAM Article Real Property, Section 8-402 initial steps for ending a month-to-month residential lease.

  • Whenever a landlord or a tenant wish to end such an arrangement, he or she must do so legally by issuing a notice of such intent, to be received, at least sixty (60) days before the desired date for termination.
  • This is a requirement set by the state of Maryland to aid the receiving party in absorbing the impact of seeking replacement for either a significant source of income or a residence.

It should be noted that some counties may require more notice to be given so it is important to be up to date with the regulations of the ruling municipality. This form letter will address either party’s obligations. There will be a section available for a Landlord wishing to terminate the lease and a section available for Tenants obligated to issue this notice.

What are my rights as a tenant in Maryland?

The “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act”, provides most renters with certain rights during foreclosure, namely, that most leases will survive foreclosure and the foreclosure sale purchaser becomes the new landlord. Most renters have the right to continue renting the property for the rest of their lease term, or at least to receive a 90-day notice to vacate after the foreclosure process is complete.

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What can a landlord charge for when you move out?

Unpaid rent and bills. Cleaning, gardening or decorating. Damage and missing items. Breaking your tenancy agreement.

How much does it cost to break a lease act?

Optional break fee included in agreement – The optional break fee clause will apply if the break fee clause has not been deleted from the tenancy agreement. The break fee payable will be either:

  1. six weeks rent if the tenant leaves in the first half of the fixed-term agreement, or
  2. four weeks rent if the tenant leaves in the second half of the fixed-term agreement.

The same optional break fee clause applies for fixed-term agreements of more than three years, unless the tenancy agreement specifies a break fee of another amount.

How much notice do I have to give my landlord in Maryland?

Required Notice – In nearly all cases, written notice is required for a landlord or a tenant to terminate a tenancy, even month-to-month oral tenancies. Usually, the lease will specify the notice that is required. The periods of notice listed below are the minimum periods required by law and the tenant may not waive their right to receive the prescribed minimum.

However, either landlord or tenant, or both, may agree to give a longer notice period than that required by law except that a written lease may not require that the notice period given by the tenant is longer than the notice period given by the landlord. NOTE: The day of delivery is not counted as part of the notice time.

If the notice is sent by mail, it should be mailed early enough to be delivered in time; the courts generally presume delivery 3 days after mailing. The length of notice from landlord to tenant to terminate the tenancy as required by state law is as follows :

  1. In the case of weekly tenancies,
    • if the parties have a written lease, then 7 days before the expiration of the tenancy: OR
    • if the parties do not have have a written lease, then 21 days before the expiration of the tenancy.
  2. In the case of tenancies by the month (or a written lease with a stated term in excess of 1 week), 60 days before the expiration of the tenancy.
  3. In the case of tenancies from year to year, including tobacco farm tenancies, notice in writing must be given at least 90 days before the end of the current year of the tenancy. (All other farm tenancies require 180 days notice before the end of the lease year.)
  4. In tenancies for a definite term (no provision for renewal), notice in writing must be given at least one month before the end of the term.

The notice periods listed above are the minimum periods required by law if the landlord is to be eligible to seek assistance from the court in evicting a tenant who does not comply with the notice to leave (a tenant “holding over”). A tenant may not waive their right to receive the prescribed minimum.

Be aware that your city and/or county may impose different time periods. There may also be exceptions to these required notice periods. For example, shorter notice periods may apply to certain landlords who receive a notice of intent to foreclose on the property. Read the Law: Md. Code, Real Property § 8-208 Read the Law: Md.

Code, Real Property §§ 8-208(d)(5), 8-501, 8-402 If improvements on property rented for a term of less than seven years become uninhabitable because of fire or unavoidable accident, the tenancy terminates, and all liability for rent stops starting on the day of fire or unavoidable accident.

  • A tenancy from year to year, tenant gave to landlord or his representative at least 90 days’ oral termination notice before the end of the year (in all farm tenancies, the notice from tenant must have been 180 days), or
  • In all other cases, tenant gave to landlord or his representative an oral termination notice at least 30 days before the end of the lease.

The day of delivery is not counted as part of the notice time. Notices should always be given with time to spare, because being one day late can invalidate the notice. The notice may be hand delivered or sent by mail early enough to be delivered in time.

The courts generally presume delivery three days after mailing. A landlord may give a written 30 day breach of lease notice which states the alleged cause, anytime during the tenancy. In Baltimore City the notice must be given before the end of the week or month that the landlord wants the tenant to leave.

Outside of Baltimore City, the landlord can give an immediate written 30 day breach notice. The tenant, of course can contest the notice.

Can you break a lease?

Leaving when your fixed term tenancy ends – You don’t need to give notice to say you’II be leaving on the last day of your fixed term, unless your tenancy agreement says you have to. It’s best to give your landlord some notice to avoid problems. Giving notice might help you get a reference or your deposit back quicker.

Can my landlord keep my deposit if I leave early?

Getting the tenancy deposit back if a tenant leaves early – Unless the tenant can prove that he or she had the landlord’s consent to end the agreement early, the tenant may have difficulties getting the deposit back. Tenants in this position should speak to a housing adviser to figure out how they should attempt to recover their deposit.

  1. Landlords may have a legitimate claim on the tenant’s deposit, particularly if the tenant has left without the landlord’s permission and had no break clause.
  2. While deposit companies like TDS can adjudicate if a tenant disagrees with the landlord’s decision to keep a deposit, they cannot deal with counterclaims.

So, where a tenant has left early because they believe the landlord is in breach of the agreement, the tenant should try to recover his or her deposit through Small Claims Court instead. Tenants should always get advice before breaking their tenancy agreement.

How much notice does a tenant have to give in Maryland?

How much notice of their intention to vacate must a tenant give the landlord? – The tenant must give written notice, as required by the lease, generally one month for single-family units and two months for multi-family units. Consult the lease for a definitive answer.

MC311 KBA: Notice to Vacate at Expiration of Initial Lease Term or in Month-to-Month Tenancy – Tenant

What is the maximum rent increase in Maryland?

How much can a landlord raise rent in Maryland? – There is no legal limit to how much your landlord can raise your rent in Maryland. You might be thinking, huh? How is that possible? Believe it or not, Maryland’s not alone—several states throughout the U.S.

  1. Lack statewide rent control regulations, including New York, Maine, and Montana.
  2. Some cities and counties do, however, enforce local ordinances that cap rent increases and regulate a landlord’s ability to raise the rent on a property.
  3. But technically speaking, there’s no state law that can stop your landlord from raising your rent from $1,200 to $2,200 next month.

So what do you do if that happens? Don’t panic—the chances of your landlord increasing your rent just because they want more money are drastically low. While rent amounts have been rising across the board, landlords still need to set the rent at a fair market price to attract and retain tenants.

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Can you cancel a lease agreement before it ends?

Many tenants will now be looking to downgrade to more affordable premises and will need to cancel their leases. If you are unable to keep up with your monthly rental, then the sooner you take action to move to more affordable rental the better, notes property group, Seeff.

  • You will need to take care though to ensure that you cancel your lease properly and downgrade safely without incurring further costs, it said.
  • Cancelling your existing lease agreement You can cancel your existing lease in terms of the Consumer Protection Act (the CPA), section 14, by giving twenty business days’ notice, but ensure this is done in writing, said Seeff.

You will be responsible for your rent until your notice period ends. If you are in arrears, make payment arrangements or negotiate a compromise with your landlord as you will need a good credit record if you want to apply for a new rental property. The landlord can charge a reasonable cancellation fee which will take into account the time that it will take to get a new tenant and the costs of securing the new tenant.

Most contracts now stipulate a reasonable penalty. Seeff contracts for example include a maximum of two months’ rental, the property specialist said. At the end of the notice period, your deposit together with interest must be refunded to you within 14 days in terms of the Rental Housing Act. The landlord can, however, deduct outstanding rent, a reasonable penalty, and the cost of damage repairs.

To avoid damage repair costs, ensure that the property is in the same condition as it was when you took occupation. Make sure you attend the exit inspection with the agent and/or landlord to agree on damage and the cost of repairs (if any) and to return the keys.

If you do not attend, you could be vulnerable in terms of what the landlord could deduct for damages,” Seeff warned. Important points about your new lease “Before you take occupation, ensure that you enter into a professionally drawn up lease agreement which protects your interest as well as that of the landlord.

Ensure there is upfront stipulation of what the reasonable penalty would be should you need to terminate it early,” said Seeff. You will need a deposit equivalent to one to two month’s rent as well as the first month’s rent to pay upfront. There will also be an admin or contract fee that you will need to pay upfront as well.

  1. Make sure there is an incoming inspection with the agent and/or landlord.
  2. All defects and damages should be stipulated in an addendum to the lease agreement.
  3. This will be vital when it comes to getting your deposit refunded, the property group said.
  4. By looking after the property and keeping it neat and maintained and raising maintenance issues with the landlord, you can ensure you can get as much of your deposit back at the end of the lease agreement,” said Seeff.

Read: Is now a good time to fix the rate on your home loan in South Africa? How to cancel your lease and downgrade safely without hidden costs

How much notice do I have to give my landlord in Maryland?

Required Notice – In nearly all cases, written notice is required for a landlord or a tenant to terminate a tenancy, even month-to-month oral tenancies. Usually, the lease will specify the notice that is required. The periods of notice listed below are the minimum periods required by law and the tenant may not waive their right to receive the prescribed minimum.

  1. However, either landlord or tenant, or both, may agree to give a longer notice period than that required by law except that a written lease may not require that the notice period given by the tenant is longer than the notice period given by the landlord.
  2. NOTE: The day of delivery is not counted as part of the notice time.

If the notice is sent by mail, it should be mailed early enough to be delivered in time; the courts generally presume delivery 3 days after mailing. The length of notice from landlord to tenant to terminate the tenancy as required by state law is as follows :

  1. In the case of weekly tenancies,
    • if the parties have a written lease, then 7 days before the expiration of the tenancy: OR
    • if the parties do not have have a written lease, then 21 days before the expiration of the tenancy.
  2. In the case of tenancies by the month (or a written lease with a stated term in excess of 1 week), 60 days before the expiration of the tenancy.
  3. In the case of tenancies from year to year, including tobacco farm tenancies, notice in writing must be given at least 90 days before the end of the current year of the tenancy. (All other farm tenancies require 180 days notice before the end of the lease year.)
  4. In tenancies for a definite term (no provision for renewal), notice in writing must be given at least one month before the end of the term.

The notice periods listed above are the minimum periods required by law if the landlord is to be eligible to seek assistance from the court in evicting a tenant who does not comply with the notice to leave (a tenant “holding over”). A tenant may not waive their right to receive the prescribed minimum.

Be aware that your city and/or county may impose different time periods. There may also be exceptions to these required notice periods. For example, shorter notice periods may apply to certain landlords who receive a notice of intent to foreclose on the property. Read the Law: Md. Code, Real Property § 8-208 Read the Law: Md.

Code, Real Property §§ 8-208(d)(5), 8-501, 8-402 If improvements on property rented for a term of less than seven years become uninhabitable because of fire or unavoidable accident, the tenancy terminates, and all liability for rent stops starting on the day of fire or unavoidable accident.

  • A tenancy from year to year, tenant gave to landlord or his representative at least 90 days’ oral termination notice before the end of the year (in all farm tenancies, the notice from tenant must have been 180 days), or
  • In all other cases, tenant gave to landlord or his representative an oral termination notice at least 30 days before the end of the lease.

The day of delivery is not counted as part of the notice time. Notices should always be given with time to spare, because being one day late can invalidate the notice. The notice may be hand delivered or sent by mail early enough to be delivered in time.

  1. The courts generally presume delivery three days after mailing.
  2. A landlord may give a written 30 day breach of lease notice which states the alleged cause, anytime during the tenancy.
  3. In Baltimore City the notice must be given before the end of the week or month that the landlord wants the tenant to leave.

Outside of Baltimore City, the landlord can give an immediate written 30 day breach notice. The tenant, of course can contest the notice.

Can you break a lease?

It’s possible to break a lease early, but there are many things you should consider before you terminate your lease agreement. If you rent, you probably signed a lease that commits you to pay rent for a specific period of time, It’s always possible to break a lease commitment, but you may face negative consequences for doing so.

How much notice is required to terminate a month-to-month lease in Maryland?

Notice Requirements for Maryland Tenants – It is equally easy for tenants in Maryland to get out of a month-to-month rental agreement. You must provide the same amount of notice (usually one month) as the landlord (unless your rental agreement provides for a shorter amount of notice).