Lease or rental agreement is a legal written document that proves that the landlord has permitted the tenants to occupy his Maryland rental property but, this is not it. There are many other things also that you should know about lease agreement especially when you are going to sign the agreement.
Rental agreement is essential when a person is occupying someone’s property to live for a limited period of time. This agreement shows that till how long the renters can occupy the property and also what rules and regulations he will have to follow during the occupancy.
It is an important agreement which is needed to be signed by both the landlord and the tenant. It contains all the details like monthly rental charges, name and number of the occupants, terms and conditions and also the time duration. Ideally a rental agreement lasts for 11 months and then, it has to be renewed by the landlord if the tenants are agreeing to stay in the property. This time both the landlord and renters have the right to terminate the lease and if they want to continue then, they will have renewed the agreement for another 11 months.
Landlords generally hire Property Management Company in Maryland to manage their property. Property managers handle everything to manage and maintain a rental property in Maryland and also handle tenants and their complaints, from hiring tenants to evict them, everything is handled by them.
Professional property manager also help the landlord to make the necessary documents or rental agreement. You cannot hire a property management company in Maryland but, of course you can go to them for finding the best property. So, you must know about everything that is related to rental properties and one of the important parts is rental agreement. And being a tenant you must know each and everything about rental agreement like what you should look for while signing the agreement, when you can break the agreement, when the landlord can terminate the lease, etc.
But, before that let’s see how many types of rental agreements are there.
There are typically two types of rental agreement
- Fixed-term rental agreement
- Month-to-month rental agreement
Fixed-Term and Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
You may know about fixed term rental agreement but do you know that a rental or lease agreement can be both either fixed term or month-to-month. In fixed term agreement, the contract is signed for the fixed time and the duration is usually 11 months. And both the landlord and tenant can renew the agreement again for the same fixed term. In month-to-month agreement, the landlord has to renew the agreement every month. Most of the landlords like fixed-term rental agreement that is for 11 month as it are advantageous to the landlord. But a long term agreement cannot be beneficial/advantageous for the tenant.
A rental agreement can be terminated by both the landlord as well as the tenant. When a landlord break the agreement then, he has to refund the security deposit to the tenant that he has deposited at the time of moving into the property. But, if the tenant breaks the agreement then, he will have to pay some penalty or it is also possible that that renter will not refund the one month security deposit.
Breaking the lease agreement
When the fixed time is over the landlord and the tenant can renew the agreement or can terminate the agreement. You can choose one as per your convenience. But sometimes you may need to break the lease before the time. Of course you can break the agreement but with penalty. There are few situations when you can terminate the lease without penalty like property is at unlivable condition, active duty military, you are injured or ill, illegal property, etc.
When a Tenant can Break the Agreement without Penalty?
Landlord fails to maintain fit and habitat premises
If the landlord fails to maintain a fit and habitat premises and the property is in unlivable condition then, you can break the agreement. But, before breaking it you will have to make a request to your landlord to maintain the property. He can do necessary repairs and make the property again in habitable. If even by asking or requesting you are not getting a quick and positive response from your landlord then, you can break the lease for which you will not have to pay a penalty charge.
Landlord illegally enters the apartment
The landlord has a right to enter the property to make repairs or to inspect the property but, by giving a prior notice to the tenants about his arrival. If the landlord wants to enter in the premises where tenants are living then, he should inform the tenants at least 24 hrs before his arrival. He cannot violate tenant’s privacy until there is an emergency. If your landlord enters in your premises and always disturbs you then, you have the right to break the lease and find another rental apartment for you.
You get injured or seriously ill
Accidents or injuries can be another reason to break the lease without paying any penalty. If you are not well or badly injured due to an accident and you are not in condition to live in the town then, at this case you can break the lease without any penalty.
Nobody would like to stay in an illegal property because you can be trapped in big problems in future. So, if you find that the property is illegal then, you should not live in the house and you have the full right to break your lease and move out from the property by giving 30 days prior notice to the landlord.
This is what you must know about lease or rental agreement before signing it. If you will have all these knowledge then, you can sign an agreement and also know your legal right as a tenant.