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Understanding the laws regarding 3 common renter costs

Renting allows for more frequent moves and less financial attachment to your location. However, moving gets expensive especially when there are extra fees involved.

Understand the basics of your rights when moving in and out of a location to ensure your landlord’s policy complies with the law.

1. Application fee

A landlord may legally charge an application fee for those applying to live at the property. No refund is legally required for up to $25. You should receive a refund for fees above this unless the landlord explains how the money paid for the application processing.

2. Security deposit

Security deposits help protect landlords but legally may not exceed the cost of two months’ rent. When you move out, the landlord legally must return the deposit unless you broke your lease or the money covers a repair for damages you caused. If any of the money goes towards repairs, the landlord should provide an itemized list breaking down the costs. Keep in mind that landlords should not charge for “normal wear and tear.”

3. Rent increase

A landlord is legally able to increase rent in Maryland. However, the landlord should notify tenants well in advance before changes of any kind occur in the terms of the lease. This gives the tenant time to decide if they wish to continue to live in the property under the new terms. Rent increases generally occur when a lease renews.

While landlords may charge many fees as part of the process, tenants’ rights generally protect you against excessive costs. Keeping careful track of written records and receipts helps protect you from illegal charges.