Real estate is a field fraught with complexities, governed by a network of laws that are as fascinating as they are intricate. If you’re navigating the property market in Maryland, it’s crucial to understand the unique Maryland real estate laws that may take you by surprise. We’ve put together a few of these, leaving the jargon behind to help make the law understandable to all.
Table of Contents
1. Ground Rent Tradition Goes On
Let’s start with one of Maryland’s most distinctive, and perhaps, unexpected real estate customs – the tradition of Ground Rent. This practice, which dates back to colonial times, involves the homeowner not owning the land underneath their house. Instead, they must pay ‘ground rent’ to the landowner. While the ground rent practice has become less common, thousands of homes in Baltimore city still operate under this system. It’s essential to understand this factor before purchasing a property in such areas.
2. Lead Paint Law
Maryland takes the safety of its residents seriously, which is reflected in its stringent lead paint laws. Any residential property built before 1978 must provide a Lead Paint Risk Reduction Certificate before it can be rented out. Landlords are required to hire accredited professionals to inspect their properties for lead-based paint hazards. While it is an additional step for landlords, this law is designed to protect tenants from potential lead poisoning, showcasing Maryland’s commitment to health and safety.
3. The Shift From ‘Caveat Emptor’
Maryland’s deviation from the principle of ‘Caveat Emptor’ or ‘Buyer Beware’ is a unique aspect of its real estate law that may surprise you. Caveat Emptor is a traditional principle that places the onus on buyers to investigate the property before purchase. However, Maryland has abandoned this principle, shifting the responsibility from buyers to sellers.
Because Maryland has veered away from the Caveat Emptor ethos, the state law has instead adopted a rigorous disclosure requirement. Sellers are obligated to disclose any known material defects in the property. This approach promotes transparency and protects the buyer from hidden faults that they may otherwise not be aware of during the purchase process. This makes buying property in Maryland a markedly different experience from states where Caveat Emptor still holds sway.
4. Right to Redemption
An unexpected twist in Maryland’s foreclosure law is the ‘Right to Redemption’.
Even after a property is sold at a foreclosure auction, the original homeowner has a ‘right of redemption’ period which typically lasts for about 30 days. During this period, they can repurchase the property by paying the auction amount and any additional costs. This provision gives Maryland homeowners a final chance to reclaim their homes, adding an extra layer of security for those facing foreclosure.
5. Tenancy by the Entirety
In Maryland, married couples have the option to hold property as ‘Tenants by the Entirety‘. This form of ownership provides robust protection against creditors of one spouse. If a property is held in this manner, creditors of one spouse cannot force the sale of the property to collect on the debts, ensuring greater protection for the family home.
6. Strict Regulations for Evictions
Maryland law leans heavily towards tenant protection, which is evident in its eviction regulations. Landlords must follow a strict procedure before evicting tenants, including providing notice and obtaining a court order. Failure to comply with these rules can lead to legal consequences, making the eviction process more challenging than in many other states.
7. Homeowners Insurance Requirements
While Maryland real estate law itself does not explicitly require homeowners insurance, it’s essential to note a critical caveat for prospective homebuyers seeking to finance their purchase through a mortgage. The mortgage lenders, rather than the state law, mandate you to get insurance for your home in Maryland.
Why is this so? Mortgage lenders have a vested interest in the properties they help finance. In the unfortunate event of property damage or destruction, homeowners insurance provides the monetary cushion for repairs or reconstruction. This ensures the lender’s investment remains secure.
In conclusion, Maryland’s unique real estate laws provide a fascinating insight into how history, public safety, and consumer protection can shape the property landscape. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant, understanding these laws can help you navigate Maryland’s real estate market more effectively. Remember, knowledge is power – especially when it comes to real estate!
Maryland real estate laws, written to educate homebuyers and home sellers. Contact Chris Highland to see homes for sale in Frederick Md. We have been helping buyers and sellers in the central Maryland area for more than 31 years. We’re here to help you navigate through any challenges that the real estate market presents.