Can a landlord evict me for pressing charges for assault on my roommate?

I signed a 1 year lease with another party on 9/10. About 4 months ago she decided that she was moving out. I have paid the rent by myself up until now 3/11. Rental office refused to take her off the lease or change the locks because she was legally on lease. The end of last month she moved back in and when it came time to pay rent she started a big argument and assaulted me with a blow dryer. I hit her back and the cops were called. We pressed charges against each other. Now the rental office is making me move because I have a criminal charge. We haven’t been to court nor have I been convicted. Can they do this?

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, the law does not specifically provide that a tenant may be evicted for assaulting a roommate (though it does allow eviction for assaulting the landlord, a member of the landlord's family, etc.). However, leases can incorporate terms that would allow for eviction in the event of certain behaviors, such as assaulting a roommate, being convicted of (or pleading to) certain crimes, etc. IF there is such a term in the lease, it  is enforceable. Also, the landlord could view this is disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct; if so, you could be served with a notice to cease which provides that if you do this (or any other disorderly conduct) again, you could then be evicted.

If you believe you should not be evicted, you should consult with an attorney, bringing with you a copy of the lease and any community, building, or house rules.


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