Frequently Asked Questions Can I Be Evicted If the Rent Is Paid? How Is a Case Appealed? In most cases the tenant cannot be evicted A tenant and landlord have the right to appeal a , Do I Need a Lawyer? if the amount the court decided was due, judgment. To appeal, an Order of Appeal must be You are not required to have a lawyer; many plus court costs, is paid prior to the eviction. filed within a specified time frame - in failure to people who bring cases before the District Payment to the landlord must be in cash, pay rent cases within 4 working days; in all other Court represent themselves. However, an certified check or money order. actions of possession, 10 calendar days including attorney may be helpful in advising you about Exceptions: If a tenant has had three weekends and holidays. If the court is closed on your case and representing you; many offer low judgments of possession (four in Baltimore the last day for filing an appeal, it may be filed by cost consultations that will help you defend City) entered against him/her during the close of business on the next day the court is open. yourself. In most cases, corporations and other twelve months before the current suit, a The appeal will be heard in circuit court. business entities must be represented by an attorney. landlord may request that the court deny the tenant’s right to redeem the property. If the How Do I File for Housing Discrimination? What Happens in Court in Failure to Pay judge grants the request, the tenant may be Housing discrimination complaints are Rent Cases? evicted even if he/she pays the rent due. handled by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.) If one party doesn’t appear, the court Can I Get Assistance? may postpone the trial, issue a judgment, or dismiss the case. If both the landlord and Any tenant who cannot pay past due rent tenant appear, the court may: should talk to his/her landlord and attempt to work out a reasonable schedule of payments. Mediation: an Alternative How Tenants n Listen to both parties present their version The District Court’s Alternative Dispute of the dispute. If the court rules in favor of The Department of Social Services may help. Resolution Program (ADR) offers mediation free of the landlord, the court may issue an Order of charge. It is less formal, time-consuming and costly Can Resolve Possession. In certain limited circumstances, What Are My Rights to a Jury Trial? than going to court. A trained mediator works with There are no jury trials in District Court. both sides to resolve the problem and arrive at a the court may enter a monetary judgment in the amount of the rent due and the costs of the If the amount of the claim exceeds $15,000, mutually agreeable solution. If mediation proves Disputes with unsuccessful, you may still seek resolution in court. suit; or or the tenant’s interest in the lease is more For more information call: n Postpone the trial to allow either party to than $15,000, either party may request a Alternative Dispute Resolution Office Landlords obtain necessary witnesses. jury trial which is transferred to the circuit Phone: (410) 260-1676; Fax: (410) 260-3536 court. Landlords must request a jury trial in www.mdcourts.gov/district/adr/home.html What Should I Bring to Court? writing when filing court forms; tenants must Both parties should bring all court make their requests in writing prior to the Landlord documents and evidence to support their date of the District Court trial. Circuit court For more information on Maryland courts and procedures may differ. See Landlord/Tenant their procedures, please contact a clerk in any Tenant/ respective claims. Evidence may include the lease, accounting records, cancelled checks, brochure for information on landlord actions state or county courthouse or visit the Maryland photographs and any other appropriate against tenants. Judiciary website: documents. www.mdcourts.gov How Do I Collect Money Damages? The court will not collect money for you. It is the mission of the District Court What Are the Costs? It is your responsibility to collect damages of Maryland to provide equal and exact Fees may apply for certain court filings. Ask the clerk for the cost of filing. awarded by the court. See District Court justice for all who are involved in brochure: Post Judgment. litigation before the court. How Do I Request a Postponement? Information contained in this brochure is intended to Requests for a postponement by either the inform the public and not serve as legal advice. This brochure landlord or tenant must be made in writing is subject to unscheduled and unannounced revisions. Any before the trial date. The person requesting reproduction of this material must be authorized by the Office the postponement must mail a copy of their of the Chief Clerk of the District Court of Maryland. request to the opposing party and certify in writing that they have done so. DC/CV 82TBR (Rev. 1/2011) As a tenant in Maryland, you have Serious Health Quiet Enjoyment Covenant Illegal Entry Failure to Return certain rights and remedies in regard to Problem or Safety Issues (Excessive Noise) by Landlord Security Deposit Landlord Sues Tenant disagreements with a landlord. You have the ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ right to: Preliminary Condition must pose serious 1. Notify landlord about Check lease; lease Wait 45 days from end of You may try to reach Action threat to life, health or the problem by certified may provide landlord with tenancy. If you dispute a new agreement 1. Live in a property that is not a fire hazard safety. mail.2 certain legal rights of written notification with landlord and get or a serious threat to life, health or safety. 1. Request inspection from 2. Allow landlord sufficient entry. from landlord as to why landlord to drop the 2. Live in the rented property, free from Dept. of Health or time to correct problem.3 deposit was withheld, you case. persistent noise or ongoing disturbances Housing. 1 may file immediately. caused by the landlord or other tenant(s). 2. Notify landlord about the 3. Protection against illegal entry of problem by certified mail.2 premises by landlord. 3. Allow landlord sufficient 4. Return of the security deposit with time to correct problem.3 interest, within 45 days of the legal end of tenancy, provided there are no reasons for Court File Petition for Rent File Petition for Rent File criminal action for 1. File civil Complaint None required by it to be withheld. Action Escrow/Injunction (DC/ Escrow/Injunction(DC/ trespassing; call police. (Form DC/CV1), a Small tenant; simply appear 5. Defend against legal actions taken by CV83) against landlord. CV83) against landlord. Claims action. in court for trial. landlord. (A landlord may sue tenant 2. Serve landlord with for failure to pay rent, failure to vacate complaint summons/ premises, breach of lease and damages to notice.5 property. Each one of these actions may Optional Refuse to pay rent; wait 1. Refuse to pay rent; File Petition for lead to the eviction of the tenant and Actions for landlord to sue in rent wait for landlord to Injunction (DC/CV83) claims for damage.) court; raise conditions sue in rent court; raise against landlord, using If you feel any of your rights have been as defense. Preliminary conditions as defense. the quiet enjoyment violated, speak first with your landlord and actions still required. Preliminary actions still covenant. document your complaints and requests in required. writing. The chart to the right describes some 2. Move out.4 common problems. See a clerk for additional What You 1. You notified landlord of 1. You notified landlord of Landlord entered 1. You made deposit. You must defend your information. Must Prove problem. problem. premise illegally. 2. Landlord did not notify actions in court. Preliminary Action: When preliminary action 2. Hazard poses substan- 2. Disturbance posed you about witholding is required, tenant must prove that they tial risk to health and substantial breach of quiet deposit. completed the preliminary action and that the safety. enjoyment covenant. 3. You terminated your action was legally taken. Documentation must 3.You allowed landlord 3.You allowed landlord lease legally. be presented in court. sufficient time to correct sufficient time to correct Court Action: Actions differ depending upon problem.3 problem.3 filing. Fill out forms carefully; inaccurate information, such as wrong name or address, Considerations If you withheld rent and Landlord has right to Landlord is liable for up Landlord wins case If you withheld rent and may cause case to be dismissed or delayed. landlord wins, you may fair and reasonable to three times amount if you fail to appear; landlord wins, you may be Optional Action: The law may provide be required to pay back entry, upon request. of deposit withheld, plus eviction may result. required to pay back rent alternative remedies. You must select rent and other fees. Minor reasonable attorney’s and other fees. If you appropriate action. Be aware of consequences defects are not covered under fees. moved out, you may be of action chosen. law. held to the terms of lease. You Must Prove: Success is dependent upon your ability to prove legal actions were taken. Laws vary in different counties and cities. 1. If violation is found, inspector issues violation notice to landlord. If violations are found, ask the court clerk how to subpoena the inspector to appear in court. The court clerk can explain court processes 2. Certified mail provides proof that mail was delivered. and procedures to you. Tenants with prior Notes 3. Court considers severity of problem in determining the length of time needed to fix problem. A reasonable time frame is generally considered to be less than 30 days. judgments may not be eligible to file certain 4. If you move out, you may (1) wait for landlord to sue you for breach of lease or (2) sue landlord for damages, repayment of deposit and release from lease by filing a actions. Petition for Injunction. 5. The summons/complaint must be delivered or served to the person named in the court process within a specified time-frame and according to the law. Notice may be served by certified mail, private process server or sheriff or constable.