Recent changes have been made to Maryland law regarding lead paint certificates, and landlord licensing and evictions. Two workshops will be held in order to tenants and other interested parties to learn more about the changes, and also general landlord-tenant law. Representatives from Baltimore Housing, the Public Justice Center, and the Maryland Multi-Housing Association will be on hand to answer questions.
The workshops will be held on November 14 and December 10, both at 12:15 PM at the District Court building, 500 Fayette Street, First Floor.
Both workshops are free.
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received over the past few years saying “I wish I had read your blog before moving into my apartment, now I’m stuck with a slumlord.”
Here are some tips and resources for researching your potential new landlord — while I can’t guarantee you’ll get a great landlord, this may help weed out the extreme slumlords.
- Look into your potential landlord’s legal history. Does he/she have multiple foreclosures, rent escrow cases, lead paint lawsuits, etc? That’s probably not a good sign.
- Is the property a registered rental? You can search multi-family properties online (even if it’s just two apartments in a rowhouse). For single-family homes, call Baltimore Housing at 410-396-3575.
- Was that rehab inspected by a building inspector? Was the work done with permits? If you search an address, and no permits were found (or no recent ones) — you may want to think twice about the home.
- If your landlord is a contractor or “does home improvement work” — is he/she licensed? No license probably means no permits, no inspections.
- Are the property taxes and water bills current? You don’t want to move into a new rental home, only to have that home go on the city’s tax sale list a few months later.
- Ask for references from former and current tenants — see what others have to say about your potential landlord.
- The most important — trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, or look right — don’t sign on the dotted line!