Information for Landlords and Tenants
The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) assists both tenants and landlords in Howard County who have questions or problems involving rental housing, including:
- Providing information on Maryland laws that govern lease provisions, security deposits, habitability and evictions;
- Filing a complaint if a tenant believes a landlord has violated landlord-tenant laws. OCP helps tenants understand their rights, try to resolve the dispute through mediation and, take action to address unfair or deceptive practices;
- Assisting landlords and prospective landlords to comply with landlord-tenant laws and be successful in their rental businesses.
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 Howard County Council has passed Emergency Bill 33-2020: The Rental Property and Stability Act. The Act encourages landlords and tenants to communicate regarding contractual obligations and abilities to meet these obligations during the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency.
Specifically, the Act provides certain prohibitions on actions landlords can take during the state of emergency, including no increases in rent or mobile home park fees, or the assessment of late fees for non-payment of rent, and prohibits certain notices to tenants and mobile home park residents. It also encourages the creation of payment plans to meet rent obligations and outlines provisions for payment plan agreements.
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 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.
The Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division has created a flier with information designed to help tenants understand some basic facts about residential evictions in Maryland.