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					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.