How to Evict a Tenant in Maryland
Every landlord hopes for quality tenants, but unfortunately, bad apples sometimes slip through the screening process. If you’ve already given your tenant a second chance, it’s time to take legal action and research the eviction process in Maryland. To avoid getting into legal trouble yourself, don’t attempt to take the law into your own hands. Instead, follow this advice on how to evict a tenant in Maryland.
Have a Good Reason to Evict Your Tenant
Maryland law requires you to have a legal reason for evicting a tenant. You can’t evict on the grounds of personal aversion or in response to a complaint or lawsuit. Tenant rights are protected under Maryland law, and you could wind up in court for violating them.
Here are the legal reasons for which you can evict a tenant in Maryland:
- Failing to pay rent
- Failing to move out at the end of the lease period (known as “holding over”)
- Violating conditions of the lease
Follow These Procedures to Evict a Tenant in Maryland
If you have a good reason to evict your tenant, you must follow the correct eviction process. You can’t storm into the resident’s home and make demands or threats. You also can’t shut off utilities, change the locks, or clear out the tenant’s belongings-at least not until the eviction process is complete.
Instead, follow a legal course of action with these steps:
- Attempt to reason with the tenant: Communicate with the resident, especially about a mild or first-time offense, to see if you can settle the issue out of court.
- Serve an eviction notice: Deliver a written statement explaining the reason for eviction and instructions to move out within 30 days (14 if the tenant endangers others on the property). If applicable, include how the tenant may reverse the eviction notice.
- Request an Eviction Order from the District Court: If the tenant doesn’t vacate, file a written complaint to your district court.
- Attend the trial: Bring all documents proving a valid reason for eviction. Both you and the tenant will state your case before a judge.
- File a petition: If the judge rules in your favor, the tenant has four days to vacate or file an appeal. If this period runs out and the tenant still hasn’t moved, file a Petition for Warrant of Restitution with the sheriff to force an eviction.
- Be aware of “the right of redemption”: If the tenant pays all due rent, late fees, and court-awarded costs before the Petition for Warrant of Restitution is processed, the tenant may redeem themselves and reverse the eviction order (if failure to pay rent was the reason).
- Have movers clear out the tenant’s belongings: On eviction day, you can legally remove the tenant’s belongings from the property.
Hire a Property Management Company in Maryland
If evicting a tenant sounds like a traumatic, time-consuming process you don’t want to go through, get help from Tidewater Property Management. Handling tenant evictions is just one of the many services we provide. Hand over this and every other responsibility of being a landlord so you can enjoy the financial benefits of your real estate investment without the stress.