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So, you just purchased your first residential investment property and would like to rent it out, now what? In order to be in compliance with state and local laws there are a series of inspections and registrations you will have to complete before leasing your property. Requirements vary from county to county and this guide will focus on the process required for owners in Baltimore City to be compliant with current state and local laws.


Step One

Even before leasing your property, get the property lead paint inspected. This will require a third-party inspector who will evaluate your property to identify any issues that need to be addressed. Any areas with chipping or peeling paint will need to be corrected before the inspector will issue an inspection certificate.

Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will issue an inspection certificate that will be needed in order to proceed with the next step in the registration process. Unless the property is certified as lead free, you will need to have the lead paint inspection conducted at every tenant turnover with limited exceptions.

Step Two

Register your property with the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE”). This can be done via an online portal here: and must be completed annually. The online registration will prompt you to enter information that is on your inspection certificate from Step One, such as the lead paint inspection certificate number and date of inspection. The registration fee is $30.00 per unit and the failure to complete this step will result in fines and penalties.

Step Three

Register the property with Baltimore City’s Department of Housing and Community Development within ten days of acquiring title (or face a $500.00 fine) and annually thereafter. The registration requirement must be satisfied for every non-owner-occupied dwelling unit, vacant structure and rooming house. The link to register the property, along with some helpful details on the requirements and process, can be found here:

 The registration and licensing information publication prepared by Baltimore City provides a solid overview of  the registration and licensing timelines and requirements.

 You will need the MDE registration number from Step Two to complete this step so keep that handy.

Step Four

If your property is a multi-family dwelling, rooming house or non-owner-occupied dwelling unit in a one or two family dwelling that is leased or rented or offered or available for lease or rental in exchange for any form of consideration, it must be licensed. A good rule of thumb here is if you are going to rent the property, get a rental license. To secure your rental license you must have the property inspected by a third-party inspector. The inspector will check for leaks under sinks, ensure that toilets flush, verify that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in place and operable, etc. The checklist that your inspector will use has been prepared by Baltimore City and can be viewed online here:

 It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the checklist so you can make any repairs before your inspection is performed.

After your inspection is complete your inspector will issue a Baltimore City Rental License Inspection Form that you will be required to upload as part of the registration and licensing process. The initial license term is for a period of two years and the renewal term depends on how quickly any violation notices are addressed in that two-year period.

The process can seem overwhelming, but if you follow these four steps in the order laid out you will have an inspected, registered and licensed rental in no time along with the peace of mind knowing that you are operating within the law.

 Stumped by something in the process?


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Heise & Heise, LLP
3233 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 276-1983