Staying Compliant with Howard County Council landlord and tenant relations laws

Being a “great” landlord extends beyond simply having a well-maintained property, and charging “reasonable” rent. It also means understanding Federal, State, and local Howard County Council landlord-tenant laws. Experienced property management companies in Howard County MD understand those laws intimately, and can play an invaluable role in advising and guiding landlords and out-of-state/County rental property investment companies on how to stay compliant with those laws.

Rental Property Licensing Requirements in Howard County

Do you need a license before renting your home? Yes, you do! The definition of rented “dwelling units” in Howard County include houses, apartments, or condominium units. And, as a landlord of any of those types of properties, it is your responsibility to obtain a rental housing license before you allow a tenant to occupy the dwelling.  Working with an experienced provider of residential property management in Howard County, helps buffer rental property owners in the County, from two potential issues related to non-compliance with licensing mandates:

·       If you have tenants applying to rent your units, the law requires you to notify them of the appropriate licensing requirements, and provide a copy of the license. Failure to comply with such requirement allows renters to terminate their lease prematurely, without paying any break-fees or penalties

·       If your license is up for renewal, and you fail to apply for such renewal, tenants have the right to terminate their lease prematurely. The landlord, under such circumstances, must also return any security deposits – plus accumulated interest – to the departing tenant

Embarking on the rental process, without the advice and guidance of professional property management companies in Howard County MD, can bring you legal and financial “grief”. Depending on the seriousness of the infraction, the County may even revoke your ability to rent your property. This further puts your chances of earning a steady, predictable stream of rental income from your investments in future. 

Understand What the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) does

As a rental property landlord in Howard County, it’s important to understand the Counties’ Landlord Tenant Relations laws. Section HCC 17.1004 of these laws empower the OCP to:

·       Act as mediator and adjudicator, between landlords and tenants, regarding rental property disputes or complaints

·       The OCP may also investigate perceived violations of Howard County’s landlord tenant law, non-compliance with Maryland’s Landlord Tenant Act, or other complaints regarding unfair or deceptive practices

·       These investigations may arise as a result of complaints by tenants, or the OCP may initiate its own investigations

·       The Office is also charged with enforcing the relevant laws, promoting tenant/landlord awareness and education about such laws, as well as imposing appropriate fines and penalties

Under HCC 17.1017, tenants have the right to seek legal remedy against landlords for any violations of Maryland or County laws governing rental of commercial, industrial or residential property management in Howard County.

Stay Compliant with Professional Support

Clearly, when it comes to understanding rental property laws, be it at Federal, State or County level, most rental property owners don’t wish to get “down in the weeds”. Understanding those laws, implementing them, and continually staying on top of frequent updates, changes, and amendments, must be a top priority to remain compliant. Typically, as someone that self-manages your rental property, that may not be high up on your list of priorities – although it should! That’s why, most rental property owners choose to work with seasoned property management companies in Howard County MD.  


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