By William O’Connell, Esq.
The Maryland Tenant Protection Act of 2022 is effective June 1, 2022. It makes multiple changes to tenant rights and protections that every Maryland landlord-tenant lawyer should know. Here is a summary. You can review the exact language and details of the Act here.
“Ratio Utility Billing System” Disclosure Requirement
The Act requires a landlord that uses a “ratio utility billing system” to provide specified information to a tenant in writing and establishes that a lease provision that requires a tenant to pay utility charges under a ratio utility billing system is unenforceable if the information is not provided to the tenant. “Ratio utility billing system” is defined as an allocation of one or more of a landlord’s utility charges, collected via a master meter, among the tenants by any method that does not measure actual per tenant usage for the utility.
Withheld Security Deposit Itemization Requirement
The Act alters the existing requirement that a landlord provide a statement of costs if the landlord withholds the return of a security deposit by requiring a landlord to provide the tenant with an itemized statement of costs incurred, along with supporting documentation, which may include estimates of costs incurred, subject to specified additional requirements.
Tenant Right to Assemble
The Act establishes the right of tenant organizations to assemble in a meeting room within the apartment facility designated for use by tenants for events and community gatherings during reasonable hours and on reasonable notice to the landlord in order to conduct meetings. The landlord may impose reasonable terms and conditions on the use of a meeting room. The Act also authorizes the landlord to charge a reasonable fee for the use of the meeting room, as specified.
Protections for Victims of Abuse
Finally, the Act (1) expands numerous statutory provisions under current law for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and establishes that the provisions are applicable to victims of “abuse” as defined in § 4-501 of the Family Law Article; (2) establishes that a tenant who vacates a leased premises due to being a victim of abuse is only responsible for rent from the tenant’s notice of an intent to vacate until the tenant vacates the leased premises, up to a maximum of 30 days (as opposed to the 30 days under current law); and (3) authorizes a report by a “qualified third party” to be used as documentation that a tenant or legal occupant is entitled to specified relief due to the individual’s status as a victim of abuse. The Act prohibits a landlord from disclosing to a third party any information provided by a tenant under provisions applicable to victims of abuse unless the tenant consents in writing to the disclosure or the disclosure is required by law or a court order. The ratio billing provisions apply prospectively to a lease entered into on or after the Act’s effective date of June 1, 2022.
Another Useful MSBA Resource: Failure to Pay Rent/Summary Ejectment — Landlord’s Complaint for Repossession of Rented Property
William O’Connell is Vice President, Maryland State Counsel, and South Atlantic Regional Underwriting Director of First American Title Insurance Company in Columbia, Md. He is also the Legislative Liaison of the MSBA Real Property Law Section.