Information for Landlords and Tenants
The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) assists tenants and landlords in Howard County by:
- Administering County laws governing lease provisions, security deposits, and evictions;
- Resolving disputes between tenants and landlords through a discussion of rights, mediation and, if necessary, enforcement;
- Assisting landlords and prospective landlords to comply with landlord-tenant laws and be successful in their rental businesses.
- OCP does not handle habitability issues such as pests, mold, non-functioning appliances, or living condition.
In 2018, the Howard County Council enacted legislation governing certain landlord and tenant relations. The Act is codified in Title 17, Subtitle 10 of the Howard County Code and was recently amended; amendments are effective as of June 6, 2021. The purpose of the act is to:
- Supplement the rights of landlords and tenants under State law (codified in Title 8 of the Maryland Real Property Code);
- Encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing in the County;
- Assure fair and equitable relations between landlords and tenants; and
- Revise and modernize landlord-tenant law to more realistically serve the needs of County residents.
The Office of Consumer Protection's Guide to Landlord and Tenants provides answers to the questions most frequently asked by landlords and tenants about both the Howard County and State landlord-tenant laws.
To find out if a property has a current Howard County Rental License, or if you have questions regarding the habitability of your rental (pests, non-functioning appliances, living condition), you can call the Department of Inspections, Licensing and Permits at 410-313-1830.
More Questions? Call the Office of Consumer Protection at 410-313-6420 or send us an e-mail
Upon the approval of a rental application, landlords are required to give the approved applicant a copy of the Office of Consumer Protection's Landlord-Tenant Assistance publication written in the language of the applicant's choice. Use the links below to access the publication in the languages that are currently available. If an approved applicant requests the publication in a language that is not listed, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 410-313-6420 (voice/relay), and the Office will provide you with the translated document as soon as practical.
Maryland’s moratorium on residential evictions expired on 8/15/21, and there are currently no state or federal protections in place to prevent residential evictions. If you are facing eviction, please seek help immediately. Eviction prevention information and resources are available here:
Rent/utility and mortgage assistance information is available here:
Howard County residents who are behind in their rent and/or facing eviction may refer to the Tenant's Guide to Residential Evictions in Howard County. Published by the county's Consumer Protection Advisory Board; the guide is available in English, Spanish and Korean to assist those at risk of eviction.
“Navigating the Landlord-Tenant Relationship” was presented October 7, 2021, by the Advisory Board on Consumer Protection to educate and inform residents who own or rent properties throughout the county. The virtual forum featured a panel of experts from Howard County Government and community partners to address issues which affect both landlords and tenants, including landlord/tenant laws, eviction prevention, discriminatory practices, as well as housing voucher programs, and the responsibilities of tenants and landlords.
In March 2023, Howard County Public Library Systems hosted the Office of Consumer Protection and Landlord-Tenant Law: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities. This program focused on Maryland landlord-tenant law and supplemented with additional Howard County measures that apply to landlords and tenants.