Chapter 6.16
LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONS*

Sections:

6.16.010    Legislative findings.

6.16.020    Applicability.

6.16.030    Tenant rights of association.

6.16.040    Obligations of tenants.

6.16.050    Obligations of landlords.

6.16.060    Lease requirements.

6.16.070    Lease term and renewal requirements.

6.16.080    Rent increases—Frequency and notification requirements.

6.16.090    Fees—General provision, permitted fees, optional fees, prohibited fees.

6.16.100    Utilities—Charges to tenant and transfer of utility payments.

6.16.110    Entry.

6.16.120    Notice to vacate.

6.16.130    Security deposits.

6.16.140    Defective tenancy.

6.16.150    Retaliatory practices.

6.16.160    Department investigation and conciliation.

6.16.170    Landlord-tenant complaints.

*    Legislative History: Ord. No. 2700, 11/14/1983; Ord. No. 1991-34; Ord. No. 1992-2, 1/27/1992; Ord. No. 1992-9, 6/22/1992; Ord. No. 1992-26, 6/22/1992; 1992-38, Ord. No. 10/26/1992; Ord. No. 1992-43, 12/14/1992; Ord. No. 1995-43, 12/11/1995; Ord. No. 1997-9, 3/10/1997; Ord. No. 1999-38, 9/27/1999.

6.16.010 Legislative findings.

The Council of the City finds that there is often unequal bargaining power between landlords and tenants, that the common law principles pursuant to which leases are interpreted as grants of right or possession rather than mutual and dependent covenants evolved in an agricultural setting and are ill-suited to the modern residential setting of this urban City, and that in order to facilitate fair and equitable arrangements to foster the development and preservation of housing that will meet the necessary minimum standards of the present day and promote the health, safety and welfare of the people, it is necessary and appropriate that the City define minimum respective rights and duties of landlords and tenants and provide mechanisms for the resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-400)

6.16.020 Applicability.

To the maximum extent permissible by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland, this chapter shall determine and regulate legal rights, remedies and obligations of the parties and beneficiaries of any lease concerning any rental unit within this City, wherever executed. Any lease shall be unenforceable to the extent that it conflicts with any provision of this chapter. Such unenforceability shall not affect other provisions of the lease that can be given effect without such unenforceable provision. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-401)

6.16.030 Tenant rights of association.

A.    Tenants shall have the right to self-organization; to form, join, meet or assist one another within or without tenant organizations; to meet and confer, by themselves and through representatives of their own choosing, with landlords; and to engage in other activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection; and further, tenants shall have the right to refrain from any and all such activities.

B.    Tenants and tenant associations shall have the right of assembly in meeting rooms and other areas suitable for meetings within a rental facility during reasonable hours and upon reasonable notice to the landlord for the purpose of conducting tenant organization meetings. The landlord may impose reasonable terms and conditions upon the use of such meeting rooms or common areas.

C.    Tenants and tenant associations shall have the right to distribute freely and post in centrally located areas of a rental facility literature concerning landlord-tenant issues; provided, that the literature is properly identified as to its origin.

D.    Tenant associations that have registered with the City in accordance with established administrative regulation shall have standing to file complaints under any provision of this chapter in a representative capacity on behalf of those tenants who have authorized such representation. Nothing herein shall be construed to permit any tenant’s organization to represent any tenant or class of tenants unless specifically authorized in writing to do so. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-402)

6.16.040 Obligations of tenants.

All tenants, members of the tenant’s household, housemates, and any person on the premises with a tenant’s permission shall:

A.    Comply with all lawful terms and conditions of the lease and all written rules established by the landlord and provided to the tenant;

B.    Keep that part of the rental facility that the tenant occupies and uses as clean, sanitary and safe as conditions permit;

C.    Separate refuse and recyclable materials, place refuse and recyclables in appropriate bins for collection, and dispose of all refuse, recyclables, and organic and flammable waste from the rental unit in a clean and sanitary manner;

D.    Use and operate all gas, electrical and plumbing equipment, appliances and fixtures properly;

E.    Keep all gas, electrical, and plumbing equipment, appliances and fixtures as clean and sanitary as their condition permits;

F.    Not destroy, deface, damage, impair, change or remove any part of the rental unit, rental facility, or its facilities, grounds, equipment or appurtenances;

G.    Pay for damages to the rental unit or facility caused by negligence or willful misconduct;

H.    Obtain written permission from the landlord prior to the installation of any new or replacement locking mechanism to the rental unit or to any other part of the rental facility over which the tenant has exclusive possession. Provide landlord with keys to the new or replacement lock(s) within seven calendar days of its installation;

I.    Permit any lawful entry into the rental unit in accordance with Section 6.16.110; and

J.    Prepare rental unit in accordance with written instructions provided by the landlord for extermination services, scheduled painting, planned or requested repairs and other maintenance. (Ord. 2015-33 § 2 (part), 2015/Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-403)

6.16.050 Obligations of landlords.

All landlords shall:

A.    Keep all areas of the rental facility, grounds, facilities, equipment and appurtenances in a clean, sanitary and safe condition;

B.    Supply water, hot water and heat as required by the standards prescribed in Chapter 6.12, Property Maintenance Code;

C.    Provide and maintain all gas, electrical, plumbing, and other facilities and conveniences supplied to the rental facility and rental unit in good working order;

D.    Provide and maintain appropriate and sufficient receptacles and conveniences for the removal of rubbish, garbage, and recyclables and arrange for the frequent removal of such materials from the rental facility;

E.    Post a durable notice of current emergency contact information in an accessible place in a common area in each multifamily rental facility. Notice must include the name(s) and telephone numbers (day and evening) of the landlord or agent who should be contacted in an emergency situation. Such notice shall be distributed to all tenants, including tenants in a single-family rental facility, at the commencement of their tenancy and whenever there is a change in the emergency contact information;

F.    Within seven calendar days of the commencement of a new tenancy, distribute to the new tenants a City supplied electoral and civic information packet, offering a packet to each tenant of voting age residing in the rental unit. The Department shall make the packet available on the City’s web site for download and printing by landlords. In addition, landlords may obtain copies of the packet at the City of Takoma Park Community Center—Sam Abbott Citizen Center.

The packet shall include the following:

1.    One City voter-registration form and one State voter-registration form and information on online voter registration and how to obtain additional voter registration forms;

2.    Other material designated by the City regarding public services available to residents, existing laws, rules, and regulations, and the City electoral process;

G.    Rekey locks on all doors to the rental unit between tenancies;

1.    No key shall provide access to multiple rental units in the same rental facility except the master key maintained by the landlord;

2.    Master and duplicate keys must be kept in a locked cabinet or safe with restricted access and a log book of all key assignments and temporary loans of any master key and all duplicate keys maintained; and

3.    The cost of rekeying the rental unit or rental facility at the beginning of a tenancy shall be the sole responsibility of the landlord;

H.    Paint all rental units in their entirety at least once every five years. All painted surfaces must be in clean condition and free of any peeling or chipping paint at the beginning of a new tenancy. Repainting is not required between tenancies;

I.    Make and bear the costs of all repairs and arrangements necessary to keep the rental unit in compliance with Chapter 6.12, Property Maintenance Code; and

J.    Provide written documentation of the cost of all repairs made to a rental unit to correct damages caused by the tenant during their tenancy and proof of the completion of such repairs. Documentation may include receipts for required services or materials, time sheets noting labor incurred by landlord and photographs of damages and completed repairs. Documentation shall be provided prior to the assessment of the cost of the repairs. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2004-36 § 1 (part) 2004/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-404)

6.16.060 Lease requirements.

All leases shall:

A.    State the monthly rent charged for the rental unit, the amount of any fees for optional services and amenities that may be charged to the tenant in accordance with the provisions of Section 6.16.090, Fees, and the date the rent is due (“rent due date”);

B.    Require the landlord to provide a written receipt to the tenant for all cash payments and when the tenant requests a receipt for any rent payment or other payment to the landlord. If a tenant requests a written receipt for any payment sent by mail, the tenant shall provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the landlord;

C.    State the frequency of permitted rent increases, rent increase notification requirements and rent stabilization status of the rental unit.

1.    For rental units exempted from the restrictions set forth in Chapter 6.20, Rent Stabilization, under Sections 6.20.020(A)(8) through (10) and 6.20.030, the lease shall state that:

a.    That the tenant’s rent may be increased only once within a 12-month period; and

b.    That the landlord shall give the tenant two months’ written notice prior to the effective date of a rent increase, which shall coincide with the rent due date in accordance with Section 6.16.080(B), Rent increases—Frequency and notification requirements.

2.    For rental units subject to the restrictions set forth in Chapter 6.20, Rent Stabilization, the lease shall state that:

a.    The tenant has the right to examine the rental facility’s annual rent stabilization rent reports maintained by the Department;

b.    The tenant’s rent may be increased only once within a 12-month period except as permitted by Section 6.20.080, Rent increases pursuant to a fair return petition;

c.    Rent increases are limited to the annual rent stabilization allowance as set forth in Section 6.20.050(A), Annual Rent Stabilization Allowance, except as permitted by Section 6.20.080, Rent increases pursuant to a fair return petition; and

d.    The landlord shall give the tenant two months’ written notice prior to the effective date of a rent increase, which shall coincide with the rent due date, in accordance with Section 6.20.050(C), Notice of Annual Rent Increases;

D.    Prohibit the transfer of financial responsibility for any utility or the assignment of any utility cost to the tenant without written notice to the tenant and a corresponding reduction in the tenant’s monthly rent charge in accordance with Section 6.16.100, Utilities—Charges to tenant and transfer of utility payments;

E.    Indicate that the security deposit will be deposited and returned in accordance with the provisions of Section 6.16.130, Security deposits;

F.    Acknowledge the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the premises and incorporate by reference the standards of Chapter 6.12, Property Maintenance Code, as a warranty of habitability;

G.    Establish responsibility for maintenance of the grounds for a single-family rental facility;

H.    Provide for reimbursement to the tenant for damage to the tenant’s tangible personal property caused by the negligence of the landlord or the landlord’s agents;

I.    Stipulate to written notice of entry requirements set forth in Section 6.16.110, Entry;

J.    Inform the tenant of the right to the use and/or installation of window air conditioning unit(s) under the same terms and conditions afforded prior tenants of the rental unit, except for a reasonable increase in fees consistent with established administrative regulations. If a lease does not include the information required by this subsection, then the tenant shall have the right to install a window air conditioning unit in each sleeping room unless such installation would constitute a violation of any other law, and the landlord shall be responsible for the cost of installing any electrical upgrades necessary to allow use of such air conditioning units in a manner that is in compliance with Chapter 6.12, Property Maintenance Code;

K.    Entitle the tenant to possession of the leased premises until the lease is terminated by action of the parties in accordance with the provisions set forth in Section 6.16.120, Notice to vacate, or by operation of law;

L.    Stipulate to the notice to vacate requirements set forth in Section 6.16.120, Notice to vacate;

M.    Permit the tenant to terminate the lease upon one month’s written notice to the landlord due to an involuntary change of employment requiring relocation from the Washington, D.C., Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (as defined by the United States Census Bureau), death or involuntary unemployment of a major wage earner, or for any other reasonable cause beyond the tenant’s control. Notice to terminate the lease must be submitted to the landlord prior to the rent due date not less than one month from the date the lease is to be terminated.

1.    The lease may require the tenant to specify in writing the cause(s) for the termination and include appropriate evidence thereof.

2.    The tenant may be required to pay a reasonable termination charge not to exceed the lesser of one month’s rent or the actual monetary damages sustained by the landlord as a result of the termination in addition to rent due and owing through the termination date and during the notice period; and

N.    Require the tenant to separate refuse and recyclable materials and place refuse and recyclables in appropriate bins for collection. (Ord. 2015-33 § 2 (part), 2015/Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2004-36 § 1 (part), 2004/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-405)

6.16.070 Lease term and renewal requirements.

A.    Initial Leases. All leases shall be offered for an initial one-year term unless reasonable cause exists for entering into a lease term of less than one year.

1.    If an initial lease is for a term of other than one year, the lease or an addendum to the lease shall clearly state that an offer of a one-year lease was made to the prospective tenant and the tenant requested a different term or the landlord’s reasonable cause for offering a lease term of other than one year. This lease provision shall be separately initialed or signed by the landlord and the tenant.

2.    The initial lease shall be signed by both the landlord and the tenant and a copy of the executed lease shall be provided to all parties within 14 calendar days of the effective date of the lease.

B.    Lease Renewals.

1.    The landlord shall provide a written notice to the tenant offering an opportunity to renew the initial one-year lease for an additional term of one year. Notice shall be given at least two months prior to the end of the initial lease term unless:

a.    The tenant has given the landlord a written notice of intent to vacate the rental unit;

b.    The landlord has given the tenant a one-month written notice to vacate the rental unit in accordance with the provisions of Section 6.16.120(A)(1), Notice to Vacate for Cause;

c.    The landlord has given the tenant a two-month written notice to vacate the rental unit in accordance with the provisions of Section 6.16.120(A)(2), No Fault Notice to Vacate; or

d.    The landlord has provided the tenant with written notice at least two months prior to the expiration of the initial lease detailing the landlord’s reasonable cause for offering a lease term of less than one year.

“Reasonable cause” shall include those situations in which:

i.    It would create a hardship for a landlord to enter into or renew a one-year lease;

ii.    The landlord is selling the rental facility and settlement on the sale is to occur within a one-year period;

iii.    The landlord intends to occupy the rental unit or make it available for use by a family member. Any landlord utilizing this provision shall discontinue or modify the rental facility’s rental license and not lease the rental unit during the 12-month period beginning on the date of recovery of possession; or

iv.    The landlord is making alterations or renovations or is conducting substantial rehabilitation to a rental unit or rental facility that cannot safely or reasonably be accomplished while the rental unit or rental facility is occupied. Any displaced tenant shall have a right to lease the rental unit upon completion of such work.

2.    If a landlord fails to offer the tenant a one-year renewal of the initial lease without stating in writing reasonable cause for offering a term of less than one year, the tenant may extend the term of the initial lease for an additional one year from the end of the initial term by providing written notice to the landlord informing them of their intent to exercise their right to do so. Such notification must be provided to the landlord within two months of the expiration of the initial lease term. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-406)

6.16.080 Rent increases—Frequency and notification requirements.

A.    The rent for an occupied rental unit may be increased only once within a 12-month period except as permitted by Section 6.20.080, Rent increases pursuant to a fair return petition.

B.    A landlord shall not increase or attempt to increase the rent for any occupied rental unit without having first given the tenant two months’ written notice prior to the effective date of a rent increase. Notice of a rent increase shall be in the form and manner prescribed by administrative regulation. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-407)

6.16.090 Fees—General provision, permitted fees, optional fees, prohibited fees.

A.    General Provisions—Restrictions and Disclosure Requirements.

1.    The provisions of this section apply to all fees assessed to a tenant.

2.    Lawful fees shall not be considered a part of the monthly rental charge for the rental unit.

3.    Fees shall not be charged for services and amenities previously included in the rent for the rental unit or provided to current or prior tenants at no cost.

4.    Fees shall not be charged for improvements to the rental unit or rental facility or for additional operating expenses incurred by the landlord.

5.    Extermination Fees.

a.    Multifamily Facilities. Fees for routine and emergency extermination services are prohibited at all units in multifamily buildings.

b.    Single-Family Facilities. Landlords may only charge tenants of single-family rental facilities for extermination services for infestations caused by the tenant. The charge must not exceed the actual cost of the extermination services incurred by the landlord.

6.    Fees may be assessed to the tenant for optional services and amenities such as furnishings, garage parking, off-street parking, Internet access, storage, and pets. Tenants shall have the right to refuse optional services and amenities.

a.    Prior to the provision of any optional service or amenity by the landlord and the assessment of any fee to the tenant, the tenant must provide written confirmation that they understand that they have the right to decline the optional service or amenity and that they voluntarily accept the optional service or amenity.

b.    Fees for optional services and amenities shall not be assessed to tenants who have refused said services and amenities or provided the landlord with written notice of their intent to discontinue such service or amenity.

c.    Tenants may terminate access to accepted services or amenities by giving a one-month written notice to the landlord.

d.    Landlords may terminate a tenant’s access to optional services or amenities by giving a one-month written notice to the tenant prior to the termination date.

7.    Fees shall be assessed on a uniform basis throughout a rental facility and shall not exceed maximum fees established by administrative regulations.

8.    Fees shall be disclosed by the landlord prior to the commencement of the tenant’s tenancy. Landlords may increase fees by giving two months’ written notice to the tenant prior to the expiration of the tenant’s lease term, or, for month-to-month tenants, by giving two months’ written notice.

B.    Permitted Fees.

1.    No fees may be charged unless authorized by this section or administrative regulation.

2.    Leasing Fees. Leasing fees shall include, but not be limited to: application fees, key fees, document preparation fees, brokerage fees, and credit check fees.

3.    Late Fees. Late fees shall not be charged if the rent is received within 10 calendar days of the rent due date. A late fee shall not exceed 5% of the amount of rent due for the rental period.

4.    Short-Term Lease Fees. A short-term lease fee may be assessed to a tenant who has requested an initial lease of less than 12 months in accordance with the provisions set forth in Section 6.16.070(A), Initial Leases.

a.    A short-term lease fee shall not be assessed to a tenant when the landlord has offered the tenant an initial lease term of less than 12 months.

b.    Short-term lease fees shall not be assessed beyond the initial term of the lease.

c.    Landlords shall not charge a fee for month-to-month tenancies. (Ord. 2016-5 § 1, 2016/Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code §§ 6-408, 6-409)

6.16.100 Utilities—Charges to tenant and transfer of utility payments.

A.    Charges to Tenants for Basic Utilities and Services. The cost of basic electricity, gas and water utilities and trash collection services for a rental facility that is not separately metered or sub-metered or billed by the utility or service provider may not be assessed to a tenant except as provided herein.

1.    The cost of a basic utility or service may be assessed to a tenant if the utility or service were assessed to prior tenants and charged in addition to the monthly rent for the rental unit.

2.    The cost assessed to a tenant shall be for the actual cost of the utility or service. At the request of the tenant, the landlord shall provide the tenant with copies of the applicable bills, invoices or other documentation from the utility or service provider and an explanation of how the fee to the tenant was computed.

B.    Transfer of Utility Payments to Tenant.

1.    Definitions. “Utility transfer” means the reallocation of financial responsibility for the payment of utility costs from a landlord to the current tenants and, for units subject to rent stabilization, future tenants of a rental facility for which the landlord previously was responsible for the payment of utilities.

2.    Utility transfers are prohibited except as permitted by this section.

3.    Utility transfers are permitted only for rental facilities in which all of the rental units are separately metered or sub-metered to measure the actual utility consumption in each unit.

4.    Landlords must reduce the rent for a rental unit to offset the cost of utilities allocated to the current tenants and, for units subject to rent stabilization, future tenants, as a result of a utility transfer for:

a.    All rental units subject to rent stabilization, regardless of whether they are occupied at the time of the utility transfer; and

b.    All rental units that are occupied at the time of the utility transfer.

5.    Rent Reductions to Offset the Cost of Utilities.

a.    If prior to the utility transfer, the rental units in the rental facility were individually metered, the monthly rent reduction in rent for each unit shall be calculated by multiplying the actual average monthly utility consumption of the unit for the previous 24 months by the actual utility rate at the time of conversion.

b.    If, prior to the transfer, the rental units in the rental facility were not individually metered, the reduction in monthly rent per unit shall equal the average utility consumption of the rental facility for the previous 24 months, less common area utility expenses, divided by the number of rental units.

c.    If a landlord determines that the allocation of rent reductions between rental units in accordance with subsection (B)(5)(b) of this section would be unreasonable, the rent reductions may be allocated based upon the size of each unit, the number of bedrooms in each unit, and other relevant characteristics of the unit; provided, however, that the total rent reduction must equal the total rent reduction required under subsection (B)(5)(b) of this section.

d.    The landlord must submit the proposed rent reduction allocation, a written explanation of the proposed allocation, and supporting documentation to the Department, and the Department must approve the proposed rent reduction and allocation prior to the utility transfer.

6.    Notice Requirements.

a.    Written notice of the landlord’s intent to transfer responsibility for utility payments to an existing tenant shall be provided to the tenant at least three months prior to the effective date of the transfer. Written notice may be delivered to the tenant by any reasonable means, including mailing by U.S. Postal Service, email, or personal delivery. The landlord shall certify in writing to the City, the date and to whom the notice was mailed or delivered, and the names and apartment numbers of each tenant who was given the notice.

b.    The notice of the utility transfer must notify the tenant of the corresponding rent reduction for their unit.

c.    Leases negotiated during the three-month notice period in subsection (B)(6)(a) of this section shall include a written disclosure of the landlord’s intent to transfer responsibility for utility payments to the tenant during the term of the lease, the earliest possible effective date of the transfer, and the rent reduction to which the tenant will be entitled to offset the cost of utilities. Failure to make this disclosure shall be grounds for termination of the lease by the tenant without further liability for rent or utilities after providing written notice to the landlord and vacating the property.

d.    At least 14 calendar days prior to the effective date of the transfer, the landlord shall notify the tenant of the effective date of the transfer and provide the tenant with necessary information to establish an individual utility account.

7.    The date of transfer of financial responsibility for utilities shall be at the beginning of a rent payment period, unless otherwise agreed upon by the landlord and the tenant.

8.    This section shall not be construed to provide a remedy for temporary interruption of service or equipment otherwise maintained by the landlord.

9.    The rent reduction resulting from a utility transfer shall be permanent and shall apply to subsequent tenants and shall reduce the banked rent for rent-stabilized units. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code §§ 6-410, 6-412. Formerly 6.16.110, 6.16.130)

6.16.110 Entry.

A.    Types of Entry.

1.    Emergency Entry. In the case of an emergency, the landlord or other person authorized by the landlord has a right to enter the rental unit without giving prior notice of intent to enter. The landlord shall make a reasonable effort to contact the tenant regarding the emergency and of the intent to enter the rental unit to address the emergency.

2.    Routine Entry. In cases other than emergencies, the landlord shall only enter the rental unit to inspect the premises, to perform routine maintenance, to make necessary or agreed upon repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed upon services, or to show the rental unit to prospective or actual purchasers, tenants, mortgagees, real estate agents, workers or contractors.

3.    Entry for Property Maintenance Code Inspections. The City shall have the right to conduct property maintenance inspections in accordance with Chapter 6.12, Property Maintenance Code.

B.    Routine Entry and Entry for Property Maintenance Code Inspections.

1.    Forty-Eight-Hour Written Notice Required.

a.    Except as provided in subsections (B)(2) and (A)(1) of this section, the landlord must provide the tenant with written notification of the intent of the landlord or authorized person to enter the rental unit at least 48 hours prior to planned entry.

b.    The notice shall contain the date, approximate time frame, and purpose of the intended entry, and the telephone number, address, and email address, if available, of the landlord or managing agent.

c.    The affirmative consent of the tenant is not required when the landlord has provided written notice at least 48 hours prior to planned entry, but the landlord shall not enter the rental unit if the tenant contacts the landlord and objects to the entry. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to entry.

2.    Entry with Less Than 48 Hours’ Notice Permitted with the Written Consent of the Tenant.

a.    The landlord or authorized person may enter the rental unit at any time after providing the tenant with written notice containing the information required in subsection (B)(1)(b) of this section, and obtaining the written consent of the tenant.

b.    When the landlord has provided the tenant with written notice of intent to enter the rental unit less than 48 hours prior to planned entry, the tenant’s refusal to consent to entry shall be reasonable as a matter of law.

c.    Written notice of the landlord’s intent to enter a rental unit and the tenant’s consent or objection to such entry may be delivered to the other party by any reasonable means, including mailing by U.S. Postal Service, personal delivery or email. The landlord or tenant shall, upon request by the City, certify in writing to the City the date the notice of entry was mailed, delivered or emailed and to whom.

C.    Report of Entry. If the tenant is not present at the time of entry into the rental unit, the landlord shall leave a written report in plain view in the rental unit. Such report shall contain the following information:

1.    The names of all individuals who entered the premises;

2.    The date and time of such entry;

3.    The reason for entry and work performed, if any;

4.    The time of departure; and

5.    The address and telephone number of the landlord.

D.    Lock Boxes. No lock box is permitted that provides access to any individual rental unit. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2010-16 § 1 (part), 2010/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-413. Formerly 6.16.140)

6.16.120 Notice to vacate.

A.    Landlord Rights and Responsibilities. Under the circumstances specified below, the landlord has the right to give a tenant a written notice to vacate. The date the notice is received shall be considered part of the required time period for the notice. The tenant shall vacate the premises no later than the date specified in the notice to vacate.

1.    Notice to Vacate for Cause.

a.    A landlord wishing to terminate a tenancy and repossess a rental unit because the tenant materially breaches the lease shall give the tenant prior to the rent due date one month’s written notice to vacate. The written notice to vacate must clearly specify the material breach for which the tenancy is being terminated.

b.    Whenever the tenant fails to pay the rent when due and payable, it shall be lawful for the landlord to repossess the rental unit, in accordance with the applicable provisions and procedures of Maryland law, and the one month’s written notice required hereunder does not apply.

2.    No Fault Notice to Vacate.

a.    A landlord wishing to terminate a tenancy and to repossess a rental unit in the case of a month-to-month tenancy shall give the tenant, prior to the rent due date, two months’ written notice to vacate. A landlord’s statement of a reason for terminating the tenancy in a two months’ written notice to vacate issued pursuant to this subsection shall not render the notice a notice to vacate for cause, and the landlord shall not be required to prove the reason in an action for possession of the unit.

b.    A landlord wishing to terminate a tenancy and repossess a rental unit in the case of a year-to-year tenancy or any tenancy for a fixed term shall give the tenant, prior to the rent due date, two months’ written notice before the expiration of the term or the current year of the tenancy. The notice must specify that the tenancy will terminate at the end of the lease term or current year.

B.    Tenant Rights and Responsibilities. Under the circumstances specified below, a tenant has the right to give a landlord a one-month written notice that the tenant intends to vacate the rental unit. The date of receipt shall be considered part of the required notice period. The tenant shall vacate the premises no later than the date specified in the notice of intent to vacate.

1.    Notice to Vacate at End of Term of Tenancy. A tenant wishing to vacate a rental unit at the end of the lease term shall give a landlord prior to the last month’s rent due date, a written notice of intent to vacate. Any lease provision that requires more than a one-month notice is invalid.

2.    Notice to Vacate for Reasonable Cause Beyond the Tenant’s Control. A tenant wishing to vacate pursuant to Section 6.16.060(M), Lease requirements, shall give the landlord prior to the last month’s rent due date a one-month written notice of intent to vacate. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-414. Formerly 6.16.150)

6.16.130 Security deposits.

The security deposit provisions of Sections 8-203 and 8-203.1 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended from time to time, are adopted and incorporated herein by reference. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-411. Formerly 6.16.120)

6.16.140 Defective tenancy.

A.    No landlord or tenant shall create or maintain a defective tenancy.

B.    Tenant Complaints. If any affected tenant has reason to believe that a defective tenancy exists or has existed in his or her rental unit or in the common areas of the rental facility in which the rental unit is located, after he or she has given the landlord written notice of the defect and the landlord has not rectified the defect or made good-faith efforts to do so within seven calendar days after the notice was given, the affected tenant may file a Commission complaint. If the tenant can prove by competent testimony or other evidence that the landlord had actual notice of the defect, it shall not be necessary for the tenant to provide a written notice to the landlord.

C.    Landlord Complaints. If any landlord has reason to believe that a defective tenancy has been created or permitted to exist by a tenant, has given the tenant written notice complaining of the defect in the tenant’s unit or in the common area(s) of the rental facility in which the rental unit is located and the tenant has not rectified the defect or made good-faith efforts to do so within seven calendar days after the notice was given, the landlord may file a Commission complaint. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-416. Formerly 6.16.170)

6.16.150 Retaliatory practices.

A.    The provisions of Section 8-208.1, Retaliatory Eviction, of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended, are hereby incorporated by reference.

B.    The provisions of Section 29-32, Prohibited retaliatory practices, of the Montgomery County Code, are hereby incorporated by reference.

C.    When the provisions of Section 8-208.1 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and Section 29-32 of the Montgomery County Code conflict, the provision that provides more protection to a tenant shall supersede the provision that provides less protection to a tenant. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-417. Formerly 6.16.180)

6.16.160 Department investigation and conciliation.

The Department is authorized to investigate and conciliate any alleged or apparent violation of this chapter or any complaints filed under this chapter. The Department shall, whenever possible, offer to facilitate with resolution of landlord tenant disputes. In connection with this authority, all landlords and tenants shall be required to make available to the Department for inspection, at reasonable times, all rental facilities and records necessary for enforcement of this chapter. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-418. Formerly 6.16.190)

6.16.170 Landlord-tenant complaints.

A complaint alleging a violation of this chapter may be filed with the Commission on Landlord Tenant Affairs in accordance with Section 6.24.060, Time limits and standing to file Commission complaints, as amended. (Ord. 2013-25 § 1, 2013/Ord. 2003-7 § 1 (part), 2003: prior code § 6-419. Formerly 6.16.200)