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2018 Legislative Update

A couple of new laws of interest to landlords in Baltimore City as a result of the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session:

Water Bills

In single-family houses and 2-unit properties, a requirement for the tenant to pay all or a portion of the water bill must be stated in a written lease agreement.  If the tenant is to reimburse the landlord for all or a portion of the water bill, the landlord must send a copy of the actual water/sewer bill to the tenant.

A property in Baltimore City cannot be sold at tax sale if the only outstanding lien is an unpaid water/sewer bill.

Many new home developments have an assessment for water and sewer facilities.  Lenders may now escrow for these fees much like a lender escrows for property taxes and insurance.

Unlawful Evictions

In Baltimore City, before a lawful eviction is executed by a Sherriff under a court order, a landlord may not intentionally interrupt, terminate, or diminish any utility service provided to the tenant, including, turning off or limiting water flow, light, electricity, gas, elevator, or similar services to which a tenant is provided under the terms of the lease.  Similarly, a landlord may not remove furnishings, cooking facilities, appliances or similar items that are included with the leased premises.  The landlord may not limit access to the property or change the locks without providing the tenant with new keys, the landlord may not remove doors or windows or remove the tenant’s personal property.