Landlord Rights and Responsibilities



The Landlord-Tenant relationship is governed by state and county laws. In the Landlord-Tenant relationship, each party has rights and responsibilities that arise from the laws and the lease agreement. By law, landlords have certain responsibilities to tenants and they also have certain rights that should be observed.

Landlords have the right to

  • Access a property for non-emergency repairs after giving at least 24 hours’ notice; access for inspections scheduled and required by DHCA Housing Code Enforcement after giving at least  72 hours' notice.
  • Sue a tenant for Failure to Pay Rent if rent is one day late.
  • Raise rent once every 12 months with proper notice (at least 90 days).
  • Charge a late fee not to exceed 5% of the monthly rent due, after rent is ten days late.
  • To inquire about and confirm payment of utility bills and to verify current status of the utilities that are in the tenant’s name.
  • Review the credit of all tenants over age 18 who will be residing in their property.
  • Review the credit of any potential sublettee.
  • Retain all or part of the security deposit to cover the actual costs incurred to repair damage to the property in excess of ordinary wear and tear.
  • File a complaint with the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs if they believe a tenant is in violation of Landlord-Tenant law.
  • Call the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs at 311 or 240-777-0311 for answers to questions regarding their rights and responsibilities under Landlord-Tenant law
  • Call 311 or 240-777-0311 to file a Code Enforcement complaint when the health and/or safety of a tenant may be at risk.
  • Screen tenants before signing a lease. The Department provides access to CoreLogic Safe Rent at a reduced rate. This discount is available only to licensed landlords who own or manage ten or fewer units.  

Landlords are obligated to

  • Present the property at the beginning of the tenancy, in clean, safe and sanitary condition, free of vermin and rodents.
  • Keep all areas of the building, grounds, and facilities in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.
  • Make all repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the dwelling unit in as good a condition as it was, or should have been, when the tenancy began.
  • Maintain all electrical, plumbing, and other facilities and conveniences supplied in good working order.
  • Supply and maintain appropriate trash receptacles and pay for its frequent removal.  A landlord in a multifamily unit must pay for trash removal and recycling and cannot pass this cost on to the tenant. A landlord in a single-family rental property must pay for the frequent removal of trash but does not have to provide or maintain appropriate receptacles.  A lease for a single-family rental property may require a tenant to pay for trash collection service if that  service is provided directly by a private trash hauler and the rental property is not located in a County trash collection district.
  • Supply hot and cold water as reasonably required by the tenant and adequate heat as required by the Housing Code (at least 68º).  In a rental property located in a common ownership community, the landlord must provide water, hot water and adequate heat to the extent that the landlord is responsible for providing these services.  This does not affect any provision in a lease that requires a tenant to pay for gas, heating oil, electricity, water or sewer service that the tenant uses.
  • Check all smoke detectors prior to occupancy to assure they are in working order and replace all smoke detectors after ten years.
  • Provide tenants with at least 24 hours' notice before making non-emergency repairs.
  • Provide at least 72 hours' notice prior to any DHCA inspection scheduled by Housing Code   Enforcement.
  • Provide tenants with the contact name and number of someone who is available at all times in an emergency.
  • Comply with all other provisions that may be contained in the lease; and,
  • Provide tenants with the name, address and telephone number of the person who is authorized to accept notice or legal service of process on behalf of the landlord. This information must be contained in the written lease or posted in a conspicuous location on the property.

DHCA offers the following services to landlords and tenants

  • Investigate and resolve formal complaints from tenants and landlords.
  • Mediate disputes between landlords and tenants.
  • When a resolution is not forthcoming, refer the complaints to the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA) for adjudication.
  • Approve rental housing licenses.
  • Inspect rental properties to ensure compliance with all applicable housing codes.
  • Answer questions from the public regarding Landlord-Tenant issues, Licensing and Registration, Housing Code Enforcement, Affordable Housing and any other housing issues.
  • Refer tenants to available Emergency services as necessary.
  • Maintain a website that provides public access to numerous printed and downloadable publications.

For more information, call MC311 at 311 or (240) 777-0311, or use the links below:

DHCA Tenant Rights website

Landlord-Tenant Handbook  (ChineseEnglishFrenchKoreanSpanishVietnamese)

Interactive Housing Code website