About Statutes

This page accesses the Code of Maryland (Statutes) and the Maryland Municipal Charters and Resolutions as compiled and maintained by the Department of Legislative Services.

The Code is arranged by and organized into “Articles” (e.g. Transportation Article), which are further subdivided into “titles”, “subtitles”, “sections”, “subsections”, “paragraphs”, subparagraphs”, etc.

Note that the “official” compilation of the laws (Chapters) enacted at each session of the General Assembly is published by the State as the “Laws of Maryland”, commonly referred to as the “Session Laws”. The Session Laws for each session are compiled chronologically by chapter number and serve as the source law from which the statutes accessed here are derived.

While the “Laws of Maryland” (Session Laws) constitute the official laws of the State, this Code and the annotated versions noted below are accepted as “evidence” of the law in all State courts and by all public offices and officials (See § 10-201 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article). However, in the event of a conflict between the Code and the Session Laws, the Session Laws prevail.

Note: Annotated versions of the Code, published by LexisNexis and West, are available in book and online formats. These Annotated Codes include references to case law, related citations, and explanatory notations.

The Municipal Charters are updated each year by incorporating all charter resolutions received by the Department through May 31 of that year. Individual Municipal Resolutions are published to the General Assembly website as they are received by the Department.

Statute Text

Article - Real Property
(a)   In this title the following words have the meanings indicated unless otherwise apparent from context.
(b)   “Abandoned land” means land that has boundaries that are located within or contiguous to land owned and managed by the Department of Natural Resources:
(1)   For which no property tax payment has been made within 20 years immediately preceding the date of an application for a certificate of reservation for public use by a unit of State government; and
(2)   Which has not been actually possessed by a person, under claim of title or otherwise, for a continuous period of 20 years immediately preceding the date of an application for a certificate of reservation for public use by a unit of State government.
(c)   “Certificate of reservation” means a certificate issued by the Commissioner at the request of a governmental body upon a determination that vacant land or abandoned land exists and the governmental body wishes to reserve the land for public use.
(d)   “Commission” means the Hall of Records Commission.
(e)   “Commissioner” means the State Archivist who, while performing the duties and exercising the powers provided in this title, is known as the “Commissioner of Land Patents”.
(f)   “Expense” includes any charge, cost, deposit, fee, or tax incurred in connection with a land patent proceeding.
(g)   “Governmental body” includes any unit of State government, any county or municipal corporation, or any agency or instrumentality of any county or municipal corporation.
(h)    (1)   “Land” means any area of land in the State, including any two or more areas of land with a common boundary for at least part of their perimeters.
(2)   “Land” includes vacant land and abandoned land.
(3)   “Land” does not include any area covered by navigable water unless it was included in a patent issued before March 3, 1862.
(i)   “Mail” means to deposit in the United States mails, postage prepaid, endorsed “Restricted Delivery –– Return Receipt Requested”.
(j)   “Patent” means:
(1)   Any grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution;
(2)   Any valid grant made under prior law by the State of its interests in any vacant, resurveyed, escheat, or confiscated land; or
(3)   Any grant made under this title by the State of its interest in any land.
(k)   “Public use” means use by or for the benefit of the public.
(l)   “Survey”, whether used as a noun or as a verb in any form or tense, means:
(1)   The act of surveying any vacant land in order to obtain a patent for the land; or
(2)   The act of resurveying any land for which a patent previously was issued in order to obtain a new patent for the land.
(m)   “Surveyor” means any professional land surveyor or property line surveyor licensed under the Maryland Professional Land Surveyors Act.
(n)   “Vacant land” means land for which a patent never has been issued or for which the applicant believes that a patent never has been issued.
(o)   “Verify” means to state in writing, under penalties of perjury, that the matters and facts set forth in the document to which the statement relates are true and complete to the best of the knowledge, information, and belief of the person making the statement.