Tips for Preventing Tenant Damages

Even the best tenant might inadvertently damage your property. These damages can cost you time and money in addition to creating frustration. You can reduce the stress of worrying about potential damages when you take steps to ensure your tenant will take better care of your property.  

Thoroughly Vet Prospective Tenants

Set up a process for researching each applicant to ensure you get a better quality tenant. This process should include background checks in addition to credit checks and reference checks. Before approving a tenant, you should verify that the individual has a good rental history and has the ability to make rent payments on time. (more…)

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What Is the Fair Housing Act in Maryland?

Each state in the U.S. has its own laws regarding fair housing. In Maryland, article 20-702 of the Annotated Code of Maryland addresses this issue. If you are an owner of rental property in the state, you must familiarize yourself with this section of Maryland law. 

Knowing what practices are illegal will help you abide by the law and avoid complex legal disputes in the future.  

How Does Maryland Define Housing Discrimination?

The Fair Housing Act in Maryland makes it illegal to refuse housing to any qualified renter. This law includes prohibiting the property manager from using discriminatory terms in publishing rental vacancy announcements. 

Additionally, the property owners can’t claim that a rental unit isn’t available for inspection or rent when it is actually vacant and available. (more…)

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Does Your Rental Meet Safety Standards?

Keeping your rental property in good condition requires more than just making it look attractive to prospective tenants. Each time a unit becomes vacant, take the time to perform a basic safety inspection to ensure your new tenants can live safely in the dwelling while reducing your liability and risk of facing state fines. 

Is It Time for a Lead Inspection?

Every two years, you will need an accredited contractor to perform a visual and dust inspection for lead, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. Once the contractor approves the inspection, you will receive a temporary lead-free certification for the unit.  (more…)

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What Is Considered Normal Wear and Tear of a Rental Property?

As a property owner, your goal in collecting a security deposit from each tenant is to cover the costs of repairing extensive damage. This requires knowing how to tell the difference between excessive damage and normal wear and tear. Once you understand this difference, you can fairly apply your use of the tenant’s security deposit. 

What to Expect from Walls and Flooring

The most obvious changes to your rental property will appear on the floors and walls. For example, it’s common to see peeling or faded wallpaper. Painted walls may also peel or crack over time. Worn carpeting or scuff marks on vinyl flooring are more common types of wear and tear damage.

Anything more serious requires assigning blame to the tenant and using their security deposit for the repairs. This includes holes in the walls, burns in the carpet, or torn vinyl flooring. (more…)

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How Often Should You Inspect Your Rental Property?

From time to time, it will be necessary to have your rental property inspected. Such inspections will help you protect your property while ensuring your tenants are living under safe conditions. When done on a regular basis, the inspections can save you money by identifying repair issues early.

How Much Should You Expect to Pay for an Inspection?

The average cost of a property rental inspection is $250. It is an expense that you can’t deduct from the tenant’s security deposit, so it’s important to add this sum to your budget. Make sure to ask about these fees before hiring someone to inspect your rental property, as some companies may charge more. (more…)

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What Should a Landlord Charge for Security Deposits?

Before you rent out your property for the first time, take the time to outline all of the expectations you’ll have for your tenants. These terms will go into the lease, and they should include any upfront deposits you’ll expect a new tenant to pay. Knowing how much to charge a tenant in advance will ensure you remain consistent with each of your renters. 

What Is the Typical Security Deposit?

In most cases, a property owner should charge the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. That amount should be enough to cover any damages that go beyond the normal wear and tear that results from the use of the unit. Alternatively, the deposit should be enough to cover the rent for one month if a tenant unexpectedly vacates in violation of the rental agreement or lease. The agreement should specify the amount requested as the security deposit. (more…)

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How to Rent Your House with an Agent

Owning rental property can be a great source of passive income, but you’ll still have to take certain measures to keep that property profitable. One of these important goals is to reduce the amount of time your rental unit is vacant. 

While a real estate agent can help you find good tenants, you should know how to prepare before you talk to a realtor.

Understand How an Agent Differs from a Property Manager

While both an agent and a property manager will usually charge the equivalent of one month’s rent, the services they perform will be different. Both the agent and the property management service will market your property and vet applicants, but that’s usually where the agent’s services end. 

A property manager will provide extra services for additional costs. They can help you collect rent, address tenant issues, and maintain your property in good condition. Whether you need these extra services or not will determine which professional is better to hire. (more…)

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How Much Should I Charge Tenants with Pets?

Allowing pets in your rental property will make it easier to find and retain tenants. Since a large portion of people are pet owners, making this allowance will help you stand out to those potential renters. 

While you may want to allow pets, you should also plan for covering the wear and tear damage that comes along with having pets on your property.

When You Can’t Charge Pet Fees

The Humane Society shares that a property owner can’t discriminate against an applicant who has a support animal. This includes emotional support pets as well as animals trained to help people with physical disabilities.  (more…)

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Should I Allow Tenants to Paint My Rental Property?

When you take on a new tenant, one of the first things they’re likely to ask about is painting their rental unit. Most tenants want to feel as though the unit is their own, and choosing the color of the walls is one way of doing that. You can handle this situation better by preparing a response you can give to every tenant. 

When Must the Landlord Paint Each Rental Unit?

There are situations in which you’re required by law to repaint the walls in your rental units. Unless you work with a property management company, you may need to hire painters to do this for you. (more…)

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Does the Landlord or Tenant Handle Minor Repairs?


As a property owner, it’s important to have a clear grasp of your legal responsibilities versus those of your tenants. Looking at how landlord and tenant laws in Maryland address repairs and maintenance will help you make this differentiation. A little research will keep you from wasting time and resources on repairs that are your tenant’s responsibility. 

What Is the Landlord’s Legal Responsibility?

According to the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development, a property owner must maintain a safe and habitable dwelling for their tenants. This means the landlord is responsible for repairing issues that pose a hazard to the tenant, including faulty wiring, malfunctioning appliances, or black mold. (more…)

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