Here are the requirements for landlords registering their property in Baltimore county. Click here to schedule a rental inspection from Baltimore Inspection Guy, a licensed home inspector.
Baltimore county requires registration of rental properties of 1-6 units and can fine a property owner $1,000, plus up to $225 a day for failure to do so. So, it pays to get your property rented, and it’s a pretty straightforward process. The inspected items are all simple health and safety items that most landlords have already taken care of.
Smoke detectors are required and must be hardwired with battery backup. Wireless interconnection is OK. Smoke detectors must be UL listed and approved for use in Maryland. Note that smoke detectors have a lifespan of 10 years and should be replaced if older. Although the test button may work, the unit may not be reliable. The date is usually printed on the back. Units with no dates predate this requirement and are more than 10 years old. Update: The state of Maryland now requires all smoke detectors to be changed after 10 years.
Single family homes require a minimum of 1 detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area and one in the basement. These must be interconnected.
Homes with two to three apartments require a minimum of 1 detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area and one in the basement. These must be interconnected, but the basement smoke detector only needs to interconnected to the unit on the first floor.
Homes with four to six apartments require a minimum of 1 detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area. No smoke detector is required in the basement.
Baltimore County requires that no electrical wires be visible in the living area.
The kitchen and bathroom must have hot and cold running water, with no leaks beneath the sink and all toilets must flush.
If there is a sleeping area in the basement it must have a second means of escape in the event of a fire. This can be an exterior door with a thumb-turn deadbolt or a window with a minimum 5.5 ft opening with a sill height of no more than 44 inches from the floor.
The heating system must be operational unless outside temperatures prevent testing.
Railings are required for all interior or exterior steps with three or more risers.
Carbon Monoxide detectors are required outside sleeping areas in the common area and must be working.
The last requirement is a catchall for hazards that the inspector might encounter that are not covered by the listed requirements. This allows the inspector to report unsafe or unsanitary conditions they encounter.
The Baltimore County Rental Registration website can be found here.