The laws governing eviction in
Marylandstate that landlords must have legal cause and a court order from a judge to lawfully evict a tenant. While lease violations require a 30-day notice of eviction, your landlord can evict you without notice if you fail to make your rent payment.
In addition to losing your home, an eviction can result in negative credit reports and fewer options for future housing. With the shortage of affordable and available rental homes across Maryland, it’s important to understand your housing and eviction rights.
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Maryland eviction 101: the four ways you can be evicted
Maryland evictions can be broken down into four types. Before your landlord kicks you to the curb, review the reasons you may be evicted:
- Non-payment of rent: If you fail to pay your rent by the stated due date, your landlord can initiate the eviction process immediately. However, if you can pay the landlord before the sheriff comes to evict you, you can stop the eviction process.
- Withholding rent: Withholding rent for any reason can warrant an eviction. While this may seem obvious, it’s common for tenants to try and force landlords into repairing the property (i.e., fixing hazards or repairing heating or cooling systems) by withholding their rent payment. Instead of facing eviction, you can go to your District Court and file a rent escrow complaint.
- Holding over: If you fail to move out following the termination of your lease, your landlord can evict you for holding over. Keep in mind that your landlord must have given you at least one month’s advance written notice to proceed with an eviction.
- Breach of lease: Be sure to review and understand the terms of your lease before moving in, as your landlord can evict you if you breach any aspect of the agreement. Your landlord must give you one month’s advance written notice and prove in court that you violated your lease. If the breach presents a “clear and imminent danger,” your landlord only needs to provide 14 days’ notice.
Key Takeaway In most cases, your landlord is required to give you 30-days’ notice to end your lease. However, if you fail to pay rent, your landlord can seek an eviction immediately.
A timeline of eviction in Maryland
Depending on the reason for your eviction, legal proceedings can be lengthy. After the period in an eviction notice has expired, your landlord can go to court to file an eviction lawsuit. As such, the timeline for your eviction will largely depend on how busy the courts are.
Keep in mind that you can remain in your unit until a sheriff has ordered your eviction, but you must continue to pay rent until the day you move out.
If you’re facing eviction in Maryland, here’s a breakdown of what the process will look like:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Notice is posted
Between 7-90 days, depending on the reason for eviction
If you remain on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction.
Complaint is filed and served
A few days, depending on the service method used
The summons and complaint will be served by a sheriff before the eviction hearing by mail, in person, or both.
Court hearing and judgment
You will be required to file an answer for non-payment of rent.
Writ of restitution is issued
A few hours-4 days
This is your final notice to leave the unit before a sheriff forcibly removes you and your belongings. The writ of restitution must be filed within 60 days from the judgment date. If the landlord does not take action, the filing can expire and be dismissed.
Possession of property is returned
The latest possible date you can be forcibly removed is 60 days after the writ is issued.
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How to resist eviction in Maryland
Remember: Your position as a tenant in Maryland means that you have rights. If your landlord is trying to evict you, you can defend yourself in a few different ways:
- Pay rent: You have until the day of the eviction hearing to pay your rent in full, including late fees, court fees, and interest. If you do so, your eviction case will be closed. Remember to ask for a time-stamped receipt of your payment to use as a defense in court.
- Correct the lease violation: Depending on the violation of your lease, you will have 14 or 30 days to correct the lease violation before an eviction lawsuit is filed. Again, remember to have proof of your corrections in case your landlord continues with the eviction!
- Discrimination: It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant based on race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, disability, marital status, gender identification, or sexual orientation. If your landlord tries to evict you on any such grounds, you have the right to use discrimination as a defense.
Keep in mind that your landlord must receive permission from a judge in the form of a court order to legally evict you. If your landlord attempts to evict you through any other means (changing the locks, shutting off utilities), you have the right to sue your landlord for damages.
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