Can I get out of my lease if my landlord has no license?

Asked about 1 year ago - Upper Marlboro, MD

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?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Brandy Ann Peeples


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. Cheryl Rivera Smith

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . A lease is a binding contract. Not having a license doesn't render it invalid.

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