Under Maryland law, anyone under the age of 18 is a minor. Anyone 18 years of age or older is an adult. There are exceptions under certain state laws to this general definition of who is a minor, but none of these apply to the landlord-tenant relationship. For a rental lease, a minor is anyone under the age of eighteen (18).
Read the law: Md. Code, General Provisions § 1-103
Anyone can sign a lease, including a minor. The issue is whether the person can be held accountable to follow the requirements of the lease, such as paying rent. A lease is a contract. A minor is generally not bound by their contracts. This means that, if a minor enters into a contract, the law will allow the minor to cancel, or “void,” the contract. The minor can choose whether to honor the contract or avoid the obligation.
However, there are exceptions if a minor receives any of the “basic necessities of life” under a contract. If so, then the minor must pay for them at a reasonable price. Lodging is considered a basic necessity.
Read the case: Schmidt v. Prince George's Hospital, 366 Md. 535 (Court of Appeals 2000)
In addition, in some situations, if a tenant is a minor at the beginning of the tenancy and continues to live in the rented property after reaching age 18, then the tenant can then be held to the terms of the lease as an adult.
If a landlord is worried about renting to a minor, consider asking the minor to find an adult to co-sign the lease. If any problems occur, the landlord can look to the adult for the unpaid rent or other problems.