Rental property registration is required when you have a property in Baltimore City. Today, we’re discussing how to properly register in the city. It’s a fairly easy process if you start off with everything that you need!
This post has been updated to reflect the new registration requirements that came into effect on January 1st, 2019
What Properties Are Required To Be Registered In Baltimore City:
The short answer is that every non-owner occupied property in Baltimore must be registered. Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Subtitle 4-2, requires every owner of a non-owner occupied dwelling unit, “whether occupied or vacant, whether it is producing revenue or not producing revenue, whether habitable or not habitable” shall file a registration statement with the Housing Commissioner. This must be done within 10 days of any transfer of the property and every January 1st thereafter.
What is required to start the Baltimore City rental registration process?
You will need a couple of documents to get started including:
- Lead Certificate
- Home Inspection- If you are renting to a voucher recipient such as Section 8 or BRHP a passed inspection from them will be accepted by DHCD.
- Baltimore City Lease Addendum- This isn’t required to register but you will need to include it in your lease agreement you can download the lease addendum here
- DHCD account– Again, not required, however, it is much easier to submit your registration online as opposed to going to their office.
How to Register Rental Property: Lead Inspection
First, you need to get a lead inspection. If you don’t have a lead inspector, you can find a list of Baltimore City lead inspectors here. The cost will vary depending on the inspector, the type of inspection, and the size of the property. Typically you can expect to pay around $250 on an average-sized property.
Baltimore City Property Registration: Home Inspection
As of January 1st, 2019, all rental properties must be inspected, registered, and licensed whether the property is a single house or a 48 unit building. To obtain your Home Inspection you need to contact a home inspector who is registered with the city to conduction Rental inspections. They are looking for a multitude of items and every inspector has different areas that they pay more attention to. The most common items are:
- Working gas and electric services
- All outlets and switches have covers
- No leaking pipes and faucets
- All windows and doors must open and close and have locks
- No gaps between walls and floors
- No openings that would allow pests or the elements inside the property
- Rodent burrows on the exterior of the property
Registration for Rental Property: Submitting the Fee and Forms
Once you have your lead and home inspections back, your next step is to complete your landlord registration with the Department of Housing and Community Development, DHCD for short. You can click on the DHCD Account in this article for a direct link to the online registration page. When you register the property, you will need to pay the registration fee and wait a few days for them to send you a license along with your registration number and payment ID.
Multiple Family Dwelling Registration:
If you have a multiple-family dwelling property, you will need an MFD permit. This needs to be renewed every year, and you register the property in the same way that you would register a single-family home. The main difference is that an MFD inspector will come out and do a walk through at your property. If you have three units, the inspector will enter every single one. If you have 10 units or more, the inspector will randomly pick a few to walk through. The inspector will talk to tenants and make sure there aren’t any outstanding maintenance problems. There will also be an inspection of mechanical systems, so make sure everything is functional. The inspector will look for visual problems and check the smoke detectors and fire alarms. He or she will also check the exterior of the property and look for things like chipped or peeling paint.
Property Registration: Afterwards
Your initial license will be valid for two years from the date of issue. At your next renewal, you will need to have another home inspection completed to renew your license. The renewal periods can be anywhere from 1 to 3 years depending on if you’ve had violations and how quickly you abated them. Your rental license needs to be posted inside the building if you have 3 or more units and accessible to the resident if the property is one to two units. Remember if you do not have a license you cannot legally charge your resident rent, you cannot file evictions, and you can face fines of up to $1000.00 and the denial of a rental license in the future.