Rental Housing License Requirements
About Rental Licensure
Since 1965, Howard County Housing Inspectors have enforced Housing Code standards by inspecting and licensing rental housing units.
When Is A Rental License Required?
Every dwelling or dwelling unit in Howard County which is not occupied solely by the owner or owner’s immediate family must be licensed. A license is also required if more than one boarder, roomer or renter occupies the dwelling with the owner or the owner's immediate family member. This requirement applies whether or not rent money changes hands.
Rental licenses ensure that the County Property Maintenance Code standards are met. The requirement applies to apartments, hotels, motels, assisted living facilities, individually owned condominiums, duplexes, mobile homes, single family homes and town homes.
What To Do Before Applying
Out–of-state owners must designate a local agent.
Make sure sleeping areas located in the basement or any other area of the unit meet egress requirements. Generally, an operable exterior window meeting certain minimum dimensions for rescue and ventilation is required in every bedroom.
Check/Install Smoke Detectors-If a house was constructed with a/c wired (electrical 115 volt) smoke detector, they must be maintained throughout the life of the dwelling. Each level of a single family dwelling is required to have one smoke detector per level. These smoke detectors may be a/c wired or battery powered or a combination of both. In addition to smoke detectors installed on each level of the dwelling, each bedroom must have one smoke detector (either a/c wired or battery type) installed inside the bedroom. All smoke detectors must have a test button that can actuate the detector for testing purposes. Tenants/owners are advised to test and clean their smoke detectors monthly. If the smoke detector is battery operated, batteries should be changed once a year. After 10 years, a build up of dust and dirt can affect the sensor in your smoke detectors. It is recommended that you replace any smoke detector (a/c wired or battery) after 10 years. If you are unsure of the age of a smoke detector, the date of manufacture is usually on a label affixed to the back. Call 410-313-1830 for more information.
How to Apply And What To Expect
A property owner or authorized agent of the property owner may request a Rental License Application by mail, on line or at the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits counter located at 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043.
After the owner or agent returns the completed application with the required fee, the Department sends a letter requesting that the responsible person contact the Inspection & Enforcement Division to arrange an appointment for inspection of the unit.
Click on the link below to download a checklist of items the inspector looks for at the inspection.
Download Rental Housing License Application
Download Rental Housing Inspection Checklist
Rental License Duration
Licenses are issued for a two year period.
Owners/agents must notify the Department if the property is sold or is reoccupied by the owner during the term of the license. Additionally the Department must be notified of Management Company and/or Agent changes. All information must be current including addresses, telephone numbers and other contact information for the owner and management company.
Schedule Of Fees For Licenses
Apartment Complexes (Includes technology fee): $93.50 per unit
Motels, Hotels, Dormitories, Roomers, Sheltered Care (Includes technology fee): $55 per room
Single units such as single family detached, single family attached, individually owned, condominiums, duplexes, mobile homes, house sharing, (Includes technology fee): $93.50 per unit
Assisted living facilities (Includes technology fee): $93.50 per sleeping room
For more detailed Fees Schedule click here.
For the text of the Howard County Rental Housing and Property Maintenance Code Local Amendments click here.