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Subletting Laws in Maryland

A tenant's right to sublet in Maryland is determined by their lease agreement. In most cases, landlords can't turn down potential subletters without a business-related reason.

Maryland law doesn’t address subletting directly, meaning that it’s up to each individual lease agreement to lay out the rules. Common scenarios include:

  • If the lease allows subletting—or doesn’t mention it at all—then a tenant is free to go ahead and sublet without asking permission.
  • If the lease bans subletting entirely, that clause is valid. The original tenant cannot sublet their unit.
  • If the lease allows subletting, but only with the landlord’s written permission, then a tenant must get consent before subletting their unit.

Many Maryland leases include a clause that prohibits subletting without written landlord approval. The form lease provided by the Montgomery County Maryland Department of Housing and Community Affairs, for example, includes the following sublet/assignment clause:

Tenant must not assign this Lease or sublet the premises or any portion thereof, or transfer possession or occupancy thereof to any other person or persons without the prior written consent of the Landlord/Agent.

In this case, a tenant should request permission to sublet in writing. Landlords in Maryland can’t “unreasonably” reject a potentially subletter.1 Reasonable objections could include:

  • Inability to pay the rent
  • Plans to use the property for unsuitable purposes

Unreasonable objections are generally ones that have nothing to do with the landlord’s business. It’s also unreasonable for a landlord to turn down a subletter without giving a reason.

[1] Julian v. Christopher, 320 Md. 1 (1990)

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.