J. Paul Rieger, Jr. of First American Title Insurance Company has provided a Summary of Select Legislation Passed by the 2014 Maryland General Assembly that is available on the Real Property Section’s website under “Section Documents.” His summaries of Chapters 488 and 489 (SB 345/HB 249) amending Real Prop. Art. 8-203 and 8A-1001 and of Chapter 556 (SB 800) amending Real Prop. Art. 8-208.1 are below:
Residential Leases – Interest on Security Deposits
This bill alters the amount of interest a landlord or mobile home park owner must pay on a security deposit from 3% per annum to the greater of the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rate for one year, as of the first business day of each year, or 1.5%. To facilitate this change, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) must add to its website either (1) a list of daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rates for one year, as of the first business day of the year, to be used in calculating the interest on a security deposit, or (2) a customized calculator that calculates the interest due on a security deposit by allowing a user to enter a tenancy start date, a tenancy end date, and the amount of the security deposit.
Effective January 1, 2015 and construed to apply prospectively only, and not to have any effect on, or application to, any residential leases entered into before its January 1, 2015 effective date. DHCD must report to the General Assembly by October 1, 2015, on the feasibility of maintaining on its website a customized calculator as prescribed under the bill.
Retaliatory Actions – Conditions for Relief
Current law provides that a landlord of residential property may not retaliate against a tenant who engages in certain “protected actions,” such as participating in a tenant organization, making a good faith complaint about a health or safety condition on the premises or filing a lawsuit against the landlord. This bill repeals a provision that made relief unavailable to a tenant whose periodic tenancy was terminated due to the fact that a specified number of judgments of possession had been entered against the tenant for failing to pay rent (i.e., for tenancies of one month, more than 3 judgments of possession in the 12-month period immediately preceding filing of the action; for tenancies requiring weekly payment, more than 5 judgments of possession in the 12-month period immediately preceding filing of the action).
Effective October 1, 2014