You have likely heard the term “slumlord” in movies and television shows. The entertainment industry dramatizes these situations, but they are not all wrong. Renters have a right to a safe and healthy home.
Laws order property owners to maintain habitable conditions in their rentals. But what does that mean?
They must provide access to running water
Water is a basic necessity for bathing, cooking and drinking. Without running water, residents are at risk for serious health concerns like dehydration.
They have to supply heat
Hypothermia is a genuine problem for tenants without heating. Elderly residents, children or people with underlying conditions are particularly vulnerable. Maryland winters are harsh. When temperatures drop, it is essential to have a heated dwelling.
The residence must have working plumbing
Plumbing is not a luxury. Backed-up toilets and clogged pipes could result in unsanitary conditions. If residents cannot properly dispose of their waste, they could get sick and spread illnesses to others.
They need to have smoke alarms
Landlords should follow state and local fire codes. These orders are essential in apartment buildings where fires could spread between units. As of 2018, Maryland requires rental properties to have a carbon monoxide detector in all rooms.
The structure should be free from pests
If apartments have pests like mice, rats or bedbugs, the property manager must eliminate them. An untreated infestation can spread disease and result in unsanitary conditions.
If your landlord does not adhere to these general rules, you may want to pursue legal action against them.