The landlord and tenant laws in Maryland protect renters from illegal evictions and provide opportunities for tenants to avoid an eviction. The laws require property owners to follow a legal procedure to remove a tenant from a property. Attempts to force the tenant out of the property, such as changing locks or turning off utilities, are not allowed under the law.
Reasons for Evictions
When a tenant has a lease agreement to rent the unit for a specific amount of time, the landlord must have a valid reason to evict the tenant. A landlord cannot evict a tenant because of a complaint or lawsuit. The property owner can remove a tenant from a rental unit for non-payment of rent, violating the lease agreement or for staying in the unit after the lease agreement ends.
Landlords must give tenants notice before the eviction process begins. A notice is not a legal eviction, and it can provide the tenant an opportunity to correct an issue before eviction. The landlord must provide notice of at least one month for a violation of the lease agreement and when a tenant remains in the unit at the end of the lease term. Landlords can provide a shorter notice of 14 days if a lease violation causes a safety threat to others. The property owner can begin the eviction process for nonpayment of rent immediately, but tenants can stop the process by paying the money.
Filing the Eviction
Once the term of a notice has expired, the landlord can file with the court in Maryland to begin the legal eviction process. Tenants will receive a summons to appear in court. The renter has an opportunity to state his case in court to avoid an eviction, such as providing the court with proof of paid rent. The tenant must appear in court to avoid an automatic win for the landlord.
The court will make the final determination in the eviction case. Both parties have an opportunity to present their cases, but the determination is made by the court. When the court finds in favor of the landlord, the tenant is ordered to vacate the property. The removal from the property will not take place immediately.
Tenants have an opportunity to appeal the judgment by the court. In cases of nonpayment of rent, the tenant must file an appeal within four days. In cases of a lease eviction, the tenant has 10 days to file the appeal.
Removal From Property
Landlords must file for a writ of restitution with the court and arrange for a sheriff to remove the tenant from the property. Landlords cannot remove the tenant from the unit without the service of a sheriff to order the tenant and household members out of the rental unit.