If you own a building in Baltimore County that contains six dwelling units or fewer that you intend to rent, including Section 8 and BRHP-assisted properties, each rental unit must be registered or approved for exemption by Baltimore County before tenants move in.
Why You Need to Register Your Property
It is legally required unless your rental property qualifies for exemption. In 2007, the Baltimore County Council passed Bill 87-07 requiring that all buildings or portions of a building that contain one to six dwelling units intended or designed to be rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for living purposes be registered and licensed with Baltimore County. You must register and be licensed before a tenant moves into the property.
The purpose of registration is to establish a licensing program in the County in order to create an additional procedure for the enforcement of County codes and regulations to protect and promote public safety, health and welfare.
A person who owns and rents a dwelling unit or a portion of a dwelling unit without a license may be subject to the denial, suspension, revocation or non-renewal of the license or civil penalties of $25 per day for each day a violation occurs and $200 per day for each day a correction notice is not complied with, and there will be a $1,000 fine for not complying with the Rental Registration Law.
Note: This law only applies to residential rental properties with one to six units. Larger rental complexes are covered by other County laws and regulations that ensure the safety and well being of their tenants.
Determine if Your Property Is Exempt
There are a number of factors that may qualify your property for exemption from registration. Review the criteria listed on the Exemption Affidavit and if any of these conditions apply, complete an application or renewal for exemption.
Dwelling units are exempt from registration if a person who is related to the owner by blood, marriage, adoption or legal custody occupies the unit. However, the relative living in the home may not have more than one additional adult living in the home. Minor dependents related to either adult may live in the house. Relatives only include grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren.
Owner-occupied rental units are exempt if the owner rents to family members who also live in the unit, or rents to no more than one other unrelated adult who lives in the unit. In either case, any number of minor dependents may live in the unit.
For example, an owner-occupant does not have to register as a rental unit if their adult boyfriend or girlfriend lives with them, or if they have one adult roommate.
Please be aware that a separate Baltimore County law prohibits more than two unrelated adults from living together unless the unit is authorized by the County as a rooming or boarding house.
Baltimore County Bill 26-18 amended the limitations on applicability of the Rental Housing License requirements. Property owners who are no longer exempted from the licensing requirements of Article 35, Title 6 of the County Code as a result of this Act shall obtain a Rental Housing License:
Dwellings not connected to public sewer are no longer exempt.
Dwelling units solely occupied by a person related to the owner must be related by blood, marriage or adoption or under the legal custody of the owner. Individuals must be related as grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren only. Family members other than those listed are not exempt.
These properties must now be inspected and registered with Baltimore County.
Register Your Property
If your property is not qualified for exemption, follow the steps to register it with Baltimore County.
The rental license is valid for three years and will expire on the third anniversary of its effective date. Before a license expires, the licensee may periodically renew it for an additional three-year term. Exemptions must also be renewed.
A state law regarding battery-powered smoke alarms designed to reduce home fire deaths became effective on January 1, 2018. A hardwired and battery backed interconnected smoke detector must be present and operational on every level excluding unoccupied attics, garages or crawl spaces. Wireless remote interconnection is acceptable as long as the smoke detectors are hardwired and approved by a recognized testing lab such as UL and are listed and approved for sale, installation and use in Maryland by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. To ensure interconnection works properly, units must be from the same manufacturer. Smoke alarm units 10 years or older must be replaced.
A hardwired smoke detector with a battery backup must be located in the corridor or hallway outside of sleeping areas and on every level of the dwelling unit.
If the home has a basement, a hardwired smoke detector with a battery backup must also be located in the basement and must be interconnected to the smoke detectors on all levels of the dwelling unit.
Homes with Two or Three Apartments
A hardwired smoke detector with a battery backup must be located in the corridor or hallway outside of sleeping areas and on every level of the dwelling unit including the basement. The basement smoke detector must be interconnected to the smoke detector on the first floor only.
Homes with Four to Six Apartments
A hardwired interconnected smoke detector with a battery backup must be located in the corridor or hallway outside the sleeping area and on every level of the dwelling unit.
A hardwired smoke detector is required in the basement for homes with four to six apartments but does not have to be interconnected.
On March 8, 2016, the House of Delegates, State of Maryland, adopted House Bill 849 requiring all rental dwelling units, on or after April 1, 2018, to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within the dwelling on every level of the unit, including the basement. In addition to being present on every level, they must be audible in sleeping areas.
Wireless remote is accepted for interconnection of smoke detectors as long as the smoke detectors are hardwired and approved by a recognized testing lab such as UL and listed for sale, installation and use in Maryland by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Note: All smoke detectors must be NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code and UL approved.
Rental Property License Search
The Rental Registration Property Search displays all rental properties currently registered or exempt from registration in Baltimore County. Use the search to identify and monitor specific rental properties in your neighborhood or community. Select your desired license type to search the map by street name, ZIP code, councilmanic district or record ID.
View or download rental registration data, including the rental property address, name and address of the property owner, and the reason for exemption, if applicable.
Disclaimer: This information was provided by property owners and compiled by Baltimore County for public access. Baltimore County makes no representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of this information, but rather disclaims responsibility for errors herein and reserves the right to make changes at any time without notice.
If your rental unit is currently registered with Baltimore County, you may download and print a PDF copy of your rental license at any time. Please note that the Safari browser is not supported.
To download your license:
- Log in to the Rental License system by entering your user name and password.
- Under My Records, select the record number for the license you wish to print.
- Select the arrow next to Record Info and select Attachments.
- Select the name of the license from the list to download.