Under the newly effective City ordinance on lease renewals (Article 13, Subtit. 8C of Baltimore City Code), a landlord must offer their tenant a reasonable opportunity to renew their existing lease agreement – unless the landlord has “good cause” not to offer a renewal.
These FAQs reflect Public Justice Center’s understanding of the new law at this time. Always seek individualized legal advice before taking an action.
This new law applies to nearly all rented dwelling units in Baltimore City, beginning July 19, 2021.
The new law does not cover single-unit rentals in an owner-occupied property.
The offer of renewal may include a rent increase that is reasonable and non-retaliatory.
The tenant is permitted to reject the offered renewal.
*Note: A landlord who correctly notifies the tenant that there is “good cause” not to offer renewal must still follow existing processes under the lease or law for terminating the lease (for example: providing at least 60 days’ notice to vacate).
75 to 100 days before the current leasing period ends, the landlord must either offer to renew the lease in writing OR provide a written notice that the landlord has “good cause” not to offer the renewal.
Notice must be sent by regular mail plus certificate of mailing (not certified mail) or by email if the tenant consents to electronic delivery of notice.
A notice that declines to offer renewal must describe “good cause” with specific facts in the written notice.
“Good cause” in this law is limited to any of 5 reasons:
Tenant substantial violated the lease terms and failed to correct the violation within 45 days. (Non-payment of rent/charges is not a substantial violation.)
Landlord wishes to move family members into the rental property.
Landlord wishes to remove the rental property from the market permanently.
Landlord has permits to begin substantial repairs or renovations that cannot be completed while the property is occupied.
The rental property is owner-occupied, and there is only 1 unit on the property available to rent.
Violators of the lease renewal ordinance will be subject to a misdemeanor charge that carries a $1,000 fine for each offense.
If your landlord didn’t send any notice, the lease is presumed to automatically renew unless terminated or non-renewed by the tenant as permitted in the lease.
You should seek legal assistance to determine your rights and responsibilities under the law. Free legal assistance is available to most renters in the City.