Renting a townhouse 4 years now, $2,000+/mth. I pay every month, frequent late payments, but always by/before the 15th. For the first time, I was taken to court. The judge revealed the landlord has no permanent license, but she proved an application signed in May 2013 for a license. Do I have any rights to demand money back, or get out of this yearly increasing rental?
No. The landlord license is really designed to ensure that a landlord is adhering to local codes regarding habitability and to prevent a landlord from taking certain actions against a tenant, including actions for nonpayment of rent unless the landlord possesses a proper license. It's a technical requirement that, in the event the only issue is the lack of such a license, would not permit the tenant to live for free.
If you have lived comfortably, without issue in the premises for the past 4 years and have obtained the benefit of living in the property, then you are not entitled to a refund of rents paid.
If you signed a lease, you are bound to its terms and can terminate your tenancy as the lease provides (usually within a certain number of days before expiration). If it's a month to month lease, a tenant can usually terminate the tenancy with 30 days notice.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
Real Estate Attorney
A lease is a binding contract. Not having a license doesn't render it invalid.