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Licensing - FAQs

Who must be licensed?
Chapter 29 of the Montgomery County Code requires that owners of residential property be licensed before their property may be rented to someone else.

I’m renting my home; do I need a rental license?
Yes.

I have more than one rental property.  Do I need to license each property separately?
Yes.  Each rental property must be licensed separately.

Is this rental license annual?
Yes.  The license is July 1 through June 30 of each year.

Is the license fee prorated?
No.  You must pay the full license fee at time of licensing your rental property.

How do I know how much to pay?
See the Application for license fees.

What type of payment do you accept?
We accept checks, money orders, and cashier checks only.  We do not accept credit/debit cards or cash.

Who do I make the check payable to?
Montgomery County, MD.

Where do I mail my payment and/or application to?
DHCA/Licensing and Registration Unit
100 Maryland Avenue, 4th Floor
Rockville, Maryland 20850

How often do I have to pay the license fee?
Fees are annual.  The annual license payment is due July 31.

How do I know when the license fee is due?
Invoices are automatically mailed each year. Payment is due July 31.

When will I receive my license?
License certificates are only issued to apartment complexes (because the certificate must be posted).  Landlords can print their license from our web site by logging into the Licensing and Registration Dashboard.

Who must complete the license application form?
Anyone may complete the form, but only an authorized person can sign the completed application.

What are the penalties for failing to license?
Failure to license a rental property is a Class A Violation of the Montgomery County Code and violators will be issued a civil citation for $500 and the license may be revoked.

Do I have to hire an administrative agent or management company to handle my rental property?
No.  The rental property can be self-managed by the owner(s).

Do I have to designate a legal agent if I’m renting my property?
If you do not live in the state of Maryland or you use a P.O. Box for your primary address you must designate a "legal agent” for service of process. The legal agent must be in Maryland and agree to accept legal documents on behalf of the owner. A legal agent can be anyone other than the tenant.

Do I have to designate a resident agent if I’m renting my property?
Rental property owners who are incorporated are required to have a resident agent in Maryland.

What do I do if I sell my rental property? Do I get a refund of the license fee?
Notify the Licensing and Registration Unit by sending in a short note which includes the following information:

No refund will be issued if the property was rented during any portion of that licensing year.

What does Montgomery County use the license fees to pay for?
License fees are used to support the landlord-tenant dispute resolution process as well as code enforcement activities.

Do the licensing laws apply in all areas of Montgomery County?
No. Rental properties located within the city limits of certain incorporated municipalities may need to be licensed by the respective city governments. Contact License and Registration Unit at (240) 777-3666 for more information.

Are any units exempt from the licensing requirements?
Yes - there are two types of exemptions:

  1. Owner Occupied: A unit may be exempt if someone who is a partial owner lives in the unit - contact the Licensing unit for details.
  2. Relative Occupied: A unit may be exempt if it is occupied by a relative of the owner. The term "relative" means:
    • The landlord's siblings, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, and their spouses; and
    • The landlord's spouse and the spouse's siblings, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, and their spouses.

I have an Accessory Apartment what do I do?
There is a separate application process for accessory apartments. Contact the Licensing and Registration Unit for details at (240) 777-3666.

What are Registered Living Units?
Registered Living units are similar to accessory apartments. Contact the Housing Code Enforcement unit for details at (240) 777-3785.

What are Personal Living Quarters?
The Personal Living Quarters program allows for the existence of affordable individual living units in a multi-use building. Contact the Licensing and Registration unit at (240) 777-3666.