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What are local laws?
Local laws are one of the three different types of law. The other two types of laws are federal laws and state laws. Local laws can be your county’s laws. Local laws can also be your city’s or municipality’s laws. These laws are passed by your local government, whether it is your city council or county council. Local laws apply only within the specific county or city.
Note that “local laws” are also used to refer to public local laws. These are the laws that are passed by the Maryland General Assembly (state legislature) that only apply to specific cities or counties. These laws are incorporated into the county or city's code. While these are also local laws in the sense that they apply at the local level only, they are outside the scope of this article because these types of local laws generally are confined to subjects of local interest only, which usually does not include housing.
Why should I check local laws?
Rental and housing laws vary from county to county. Also, some cities (or municipalities) may have their own separate housing laws. Some counties or cities may have a separate housing or zoning code.
It is important to check local laws because these laws apply to you. Often, local laws provide tenants with additional protections. Local laws can also lay out specific requirements for landlords. Both landlords and tenants should check their local housing laws.
Remember, state and federal laws still apply. So, you will need to review these laws within the larger context of Maryland state laws and federal laws.
Where to find local laws?
For most Maryland counties, you can view the county’s laws online. Many municipalities also have their local laws available online. The Thurgood Marshall State Law Library has a directory of county codes and city/municipal codes that provides links to the laws available online.
If your county or city does not have their laws available online, you can contact the county or city government directly for this information. The Maryland Archives provides a directory of county governments.
The Maryland Archives also has a directory of municipalities. You search for your city by name or by county.
Your local public library may also have a print copy of the local laws. A directory of Maryland Public Libraries is available online.
Your local law library is another good resource for local laws. Learn more about finding law libraries in Maryland.