A Maryland eviction notice is a document drafted by the landlord and served on the tenant. An eviction notice is issued when the tenant does not comply with their signed lease. A Maryland eviction notice is also referred to as a notice to quit. They are subject to Maryland’s landlord-tenant law. This notice is generally the first step that must be taken before the landlord may file a lawsuit against the tenant. However, there is an exception to that statement. Maryland landlord-tenant law does not require an eviction notice to be served for non-payment of rent. The landlord may begin the eviction lawsuit right away by filing a Summary Ejectment.
Maryland eviction notices should contain the following information:
Legal service of a Maryland eviction notice is important. If legal service doesn’t occur, the eviction is not considered legal. Landlords may personally serve the tenant or any resident of the property. In certain instances, such as with a 14-day notice to quit for imminent danger, the landlord may be better off hiring a private process server.
14-Day Notice to Quit for Imminent Danger
A 14-day notice to quit for imminent danger is used by Maryland landlords when the tenant creates or allows the creation of a clear and imminent danger to the rental property, themselves, other tenants, the landlord, or anyone on the property. The tenant does not get the opportunity to correct the violation. They must vacate the property within 14 days according to § 8-402.1(a)(2)(B).
This notice should list the statute and describe the action or actions that caused the landlord or their agent to issue the eviction notice. Because of the potential danger that exists, the landlord or their agent should seriously consider hiring a private process server instead of personally serving the tenant.
30-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
A 30-day notice to quit for non-compliance tells the tenant that they’ve violated their lease agreement. It gives the tenant 30 days to correct the violation or vacate the property according to § 8-402(a)(2)(A). The landlord should explain the actions that occurred that violate the signed lease agreement and list the date by which the violation must be corrected or by which the tenant must vacate the property.
30-Day Notice to Quit a Month-to-Month Tenancy
A 30-day notice to terminate a month-to-month lease agreement isn’t necessarily issued because the tenant violates the lease in some way (although a landlord could use it for that purpose). For that reason, it is not considered an eviction notice. However, since it is used to end a month-to-month lease agreement, we’ve included it here.
This letter may be drafted by either the landlord or the tenant to inform the other party that they do not intend to renew the lease in 30 days and that the landlord will receive possession of the property. This letter should include the date by which the tenant should vacate the property. It is regulated by § 8-402(b)(1).
Here’s what you need to know about Maryland eviction notices. First, it is perfectly legal for landlords to begin court proceedings against a tenant who does not pay the rent. Landlords do not have to first serve an eviction notice, or notice to quit, for non-payment of rent. Eviction notices for imminent danger and for violating the lease (non-compliance) must be properly served in person. This means the landlord, their agent, or a process server hired by the landlord may serve the tenant or a member of the household.
The eviction notice must have the proper amount of days by which the tenant must repair the violation (for non-compliance) or vacate the property (for imminent threats or if the tenant does not plan to conform to the lease). After these notices are served, the landlord may then begin the lawsuit against the tenant if necessary. Until the landlord receives a court order, they may not change the locks, shut off the utilities, or remove the belongings of the tenant. Doing it before a court order is granted is against the law.
It is illegal to evict the tenant because of their skin color, disability, family status (including pregnancy or having minor children), national origin, race, religion, or gender. It is also illegal to engage in retaliatory eviction. This means that the landlord is trying to evict the tenant because the tenant reported them or the rental property to the housing authority for code violations or because the property is uninhabitable.
If a landlord attempts to use an illegal eviction method, including the self-help methods described, the tenant may have the ability to file a lawsuit for financial compensation. The tenant may also be allowed by the court to remain on the property.
Maryland tenants have rights and obligations under landlord-tenant law. The Maryland Attorney General website has helpful information for tenants. If you receive an eviction notice or if you’re served with a summons because the landlord says you didn’t pay your rent, read the information carefully. This will help you understand what’s happening and what you need to do. You can call the landlord if you have questions about the eviction notice. Stay calm during the conversation.
If you’re facing an eviction and need help, you have some options. You can contact a landlord-tenant attorney. This may be particularly helpful if you believe that the eviction you’re facing is illegal. If it is illegal, you may have the legal option of filing a lawsuit and the attorney can help you with that process. Baltimore Neighborhoods, In., provides information to tenants about their rights and responsibilities during an eviction. The City of Baltimore also has information for non-profits who may be able to help you if the eviction will mean that you become homeless. There are also legal aid offices that may be able to help you. However, they have an income qualification. They also have great resources if you do not qualify for their legal services.
Landlords must abide by Maryland’s landlord-tenant laws when it comes to the eviction process. Landlords are not required to serve an eviction notice for non-payment of rent. They can, if they choose, automatically begin court proceedings. Eviction notices for imminent threat or non-compliance must be legally served on the tenant or someone who lives on the rental property.
Landlords may not use “self-help” methods (changing the locks, turning off utilities to the property, or removing the tenant’s possessions) unless they have a court order that allows them to take possession of the property. Without a court order, such practices are illegal. Landlords may not evict tenants for reporting code violations or for discriminatory reasons.
If the landlord does not abide by the proper state and federal housing laws, the tenant may have the legal right to file a lawsuit against them. The tenant may be entitled to receive financial compensation and to keep possession of the property.