If you’re planning to rent out your residential property in Howard County, Maryland, then one of the first things to take care of is the rental license.
What Is a Rental License?
A rental license is required for any property owner who wants to rent out their home. It ensures that the property meets the standards of the Howard County Property Maintenance Code.
This legal document is issued by the Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits in Ellicott City, and it must be obtained before any tenants move in. If you rent out your house without first obtaining a rental license, you could be held liable and fined.
How Do You Get a Rental License in Howard County?
The general process includes:
Submitting an application and application fee
In Howard County, you must apply for a rental license before anything else can happen. Howard County is unique in that they do NOT offer options to apply and pay online. They only accept paper applications (that are mailed in or delivered in person) and payment by check. (The fee for a single dwelling unit is $93.50.) Once they accept your application, they will mail you a notification that you can schedule an inspection.
Getting your property inspected
Howard County is unique in that they require a Howard County inspector to perform the inspection. They do not allow independent inspectors. (As of September 2022, inspection appointments are scheduled approximately one month in advance. This is longer than usual due to Howard County’s personnel shortages.) Once your property passes the inspection, the county will email and mail copies of the rental license to the owner and the property manager.
Renewing every two years
The rental license is valid for two years. Howard County will remind you when it’s time for renewal. The renewal inspection is simply a drive-by to ensure that the exterior is up to code. At Peace of Mind, we take care of mailing in the necessary paperwork and payment to renew your rental license.
Top 3 Tips to Get Your Rental License in Howard County
Keep this advice in mind to help obtain your rental license as smoothly as possible.
Make sure the application is filled out correctly.
If the application has any errors, then it will be mailed back to you. You must then fix the errors and mail the application back to them again. At Peace of Mind, we take care of all the paperwork for you. We know how to fill out the applications so that they don’t get returned. This minimizes the risk of any delays.
Start the application process immediately.
As soon as you know you’re going to rent out your property, mail in your application. Don’t wait until you move out. Get the process started as soon as you can because it takes time. And tenants can’t move in until you have the rental license. At Peace of Mind, we mail in the application on your behalf as soon as you hire us to manage your property.
Prepare for the inspection.
Howard County inspectors are known for being diligent and thorough. Use this checklist and this video as a guide to prepare. (NOTE: These lists are not all-inclusive. They just mention frequently failed items.)
Some of the commonly failed items we see involve windows and smoke detectors. In Howard County, any door or window that opens needs to have a functioning screen without holes or tears. Also, windows need to have locks and need to stay open when you open them. Regarding smoke detectors, there needs to be a hardwired, interconnected smoke detector on every level of the property. Additionally, every bedroom needs to have a 10-year sealed smoke detector.
If you don’t pass the inspection, then you must make the necessary remediation and then schedule another inspection. At Peace of Mind, we help you prepare by walking through the property before the inspector does. Based on our expertise, we can identify and help fix the common problems first.
Get Your Rental License with Peace of Mind
Applying for a rental license in Howard County can be time-consuming and can feel like a lot of red tape. This is especially true if you’re a landlord who’s anxious to get your tenant placed and your rent money collected. At Peace of Mind, we make it easy and stress-free for you. Not only do we help obtain your rental license, but we offer comprehensive services to make you a successful landlord.