If you own rental property in Baltimore’s Bay area, or anywhere in Maryland for that matter, it’s important to have a good grasp of the laws, rules and regulations applicable to your business. In fact, even as a non-owner, who rents out property, you’re obligated to follow the law. We’ll talk about some common aspects of those laws that anyone involved in Bay property management in Baltimore should be aware of. Having a basic understanding of these laws could avoid many legal hassles subsequently.
Registering Your Property
Whether you the units you’re renting out, or whether this is a non-owner rented dwelling, you’re required by law to apply for a license. The new law, that took effect on August 1, 2018, made it mandatory for all Baltimore City rental properties to be licensed, including one- and two-family, multifamily dwellings as well as short-term rentals (90-days or less).
The deadline for such registration was January 1, 2019. If you are in the business of property management in Baltimore city, and are aware that the units you manage aren’t registered, then you should immediately apply for registration so that you are in compliance with the law.
RESOURCES: You can apply for registration here
Once your application is processed, you’ll receive your license to rent the property from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), in compliance with Baltimore City regulations. Prerequisites for the license include:
1. Registration with the DHCD via the online portal
2. The property must pass a property inspection by state-licensed Baltimore City home inspector
As a professional, offering Bay property management in Baltimore, you’ll need to set up an account at the online portal first.
Housing Code Violations
As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure the units you rent out are in prime livable condition, and don’t pose a risk to either the renter, visitors or others in the vicinity. Some specific code violations to be aware of include:
1. Insufficient light, heat, electricity, or hot and cold water might rate your unit as “seriously deficient”
2. Any structural defects, that pose health and safety risk, may also add your unit to a “seriously deficient” list
3. You must provide adequate facilities for sewage disposal
4. The property must be free of insect, rodent or other infestations
5. There must be no use of lead paint or traces of it anywhere in the unit
6. Units that support hazardous conditions, such as those without working fire alarms, are also liable to have their licenses rejected or revoked
RESOURCES: You can learn more about licensing and housing code requirements here.
If you are involved in property management in Baltimore city, regular code review inspections are the best way for you to ensure your unit is compliant with the rules. This means you, or designated staff, should consciously be aware of all applicable rental property laws, and proactively watch for potential infringements. Conducting routine property checks, especially pre and post-occupancy inspections, is vital to that effort.
If you aren’t comfortable performing these tasks, it’s advisable that you hire a professional Baltimore City property manager to act on your behalf.