Saturday, November 26, 2022
Properties

Know the law and be compliant – Baltimore Property Management 101

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Like many regulated professions, the Baltimore rental property management  industry is a rules-based profession. And sometimes the laws can be confusing, especially if you are new to the industry. That’s because a triage of Federal, State, and local municipality laws influence what property owners and managers can and can’t do. That makes it all that much more important, regardless whether you are a veteran property manager, or a newly-minted owner-manager, to know the laws, and understand what’s permissible and what’s not.

Understanding the Laws

The legal framework of the owner and tenant relationship is spelled out in detail by the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development. The post touches certain aspects of laws and covers other lesser-known angles that impact property owners’ and managers’ roles and responsibilities. The department advices that rental property owners only work with experienced companies practicing rental property management in Baltimore, because these professionals work with the laws on a daily basis.

Here’s a preview of some of these laws:

  • THE LAW GOVERNING LEASE and RENTAL AGREEMENTS

The lease and/or rental agreement determines the legal relationships between landlords and tenants. However, the mechanics of how Leases transition into Rentals, may not be as straightforward – and that’s where an experienced Baltimore rental property management company can help

  • THE LAW GOVERNING THE RIGHT TO ENTRY

Unlike some states, Maryland’s landlord-tenant regulations do not contain state-wide legislation governing entry notification. However, the lack of such provisions does not mean suitable arrangements governing a landlord’s right to enter a unit can’t (or shouldn’t) exist. Such provisions typically exist in lease agreements. To be enforceable, both parties to the agreement – tenants and the landlord (and/or a company providing rental property management in Baltimore) – must agree to any such stipulations.

  • THE LAW GOVERNING FAIR HOUSING PRACTICES

This is one important instance where federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) provisions trump any other terms and conditions negotiated locally, or deemed incorporated in lease or rental agreements. Under these provisions, you must not discriminate against lessees/renters based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability
  • THE LAW GOVERNING SECURITY DEPOSITS

When a new tenant moves into a rental unit, Maryland laws allow property owners (or their legal agents) to collect an amount as security deposit. That refundable fee may then be applied against property damage, if any, when the tenant vacates the property. Companies involved in rental property management in Baltimore, on behalf of a property owner, may charge up to 2-months’ rent as security deposit.

To be compliant, owners and property managers must always provide tenants specific details, in writing, of their rights surrounding the requirement for paying a security deposit.

Make Property Management Easy

These, and other important laws, such as those governing changing of locks, and those related to allowing/disallowing pers on your property, make managing rental property a challenging business.  However, owning rental property is a lot less stressful when you have the services of professional rental property management in Baltimore to support you. They have intimate knowledge of all aspects of the rental laws and, in most instances, remain plugged-in to upcoming legislative updates and changes with potential impact on their clients.