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UPDATED: Feb 13, 2020
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As long as the law is followed, Maryland landlords can evict any tenant. Landlords must be careful to follow all of the local procedural rules or they could risk losing their eviction suit on a technicality. In addition, while landlords may have the ability to lock out their tenants and turn off their utilities to force the tenant to pay rent or leave, this is not legal in Maryland.
Available Maryland Termination Notices
Landlords in Maryland most commonly evict their tenants for failure to pay rent. Other common reasons for eviction are that the tenant is holding over past the lease length or for breach of one of the lease terms. In order to evict a tenant, the landlord must first terminate the tenancy. To do this, the landlord must give the tenant 30 days notice of termination. If the tenant failed to pay rent, it is not necessary to notify the tenant that you are filing for eviction. (Note that in Baltimore City, special notice requirements apply.)
The termination notice must state the reason for the termination and other relevant information, such as the names of the parties and the address of the property. The available termination notices in Maryland are:
Notice to quit: This is a 30-day notice that is used when the tenant is holding the property past the end of the lease (Maryland Code 8-402(b)).
Breach of lease notice: For breach of the lease, the landlord must still give 30 days notice of termination before filing for eviction (Maryland Code 8-402.1; 8-401).
For more information on Maryland landlord tenant issues, see this Maryland District Court website.
Evictions in Maryland are handled by the District Courts. Find the contact information for your local District Court here. The Maryland Courts website also offers some forms that you can fill out before filing. While filling out forms to magically evict your tenant may seem simple, sometimes events do not unfold as smoothly as we had hoped. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you might seek out an experienced Maryland landlord tenant attorney. Refer to Questions to Ask Your Maryland Evictions Lawyerbelow for help when talking to an attorney.
Maryland Rent Control
The state of Maryland does not have a rent control statute. Takoma Park is the only jurisdiction in Maryland with rental control statute or programs. Some states have cities or counties with rent control laws that also require “just cause” for eviction, but this city simply has a rent ceiling. If you are a landlord or tenant in Takoma Park, be sure you understand the special rules before proceeding with or defending a termination or eviction!
Self-Help Evictions in Maryland
As in all states, self-help evictions are illegal in Maryland. If your landlord locks you out or turns off your utilities, you may be entitled to:
- Actual damages;
- Attorney’s fees.
In Baltimore City, the landlord may also be guilty of a misdemeanor and have to pay up to $500 in fines.
Questions to Ask Your Maryland Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?