The Eviction Process in Maryland: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Maryland eviction rules and procedures.

By , Attorney · University of Idaho College of Law
Updated by Ann O’Connell, Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

When evicting a tenant in Maryland, a landlord must follow specific rules and procedures or risk having the eviction lawsuit thrown out of court. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures the landlord or property manager must follow when evicting a tenant in Maryland.

Notice for Termination With Cause

To evict a tenant before the tenancy has expired, a landlord must have legal cause. The most common legal cause of eviction is failure to pay rent. However, the landlord can also evict the tenant who poses a harm to others on the property or the property itself, or the tenant who violates the lease or rental agreement.

Before filing an eviction lawsuit, the landlord must provide the tenant with notice. The type of notice required depends on the reason the landlord is terminating the tenancy.

  • 10-day notice to pay rent: If the landlord is evicting the tenant for failing to pay rent, the landlord must give the tenant a written notice stating that if rent isn't paid within 10 days, the tenancy will end. If the tenant doesn't move out or pay rent within the 10 days, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Md. Code Real Prop., § 8-401.)
  • 14-day notice to quit: If the tenant or someone on the property with the tenant's consent poses an imminent threat to the property or others on the property, the landlord can give the tenant a 14-day notice to quit (move out). If the tenant doesn't move out by the deadline in the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Md. Code Real Prop., § 8-402.1.)
  • 30-day notice to quit: For all other violations of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice to quit. If the tenant doesn't move out by the deadline in the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Md. Code Real Prop., § 8-402.1.)

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord doesn't have legal cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord must wait until the end of the tenancy before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord might still need to give the tenant notice, depending on the type of tenancy.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

If the tenant is in a month-to-month tenancy and the landlord wishes to end the tenancy, then the landlord must give the tenant a written 60-day notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenancy will end at the end of the 60 days and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by that time. If the tenant doesn't move out by that time, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Md. Code Real Prop., § 8-402(c).)

Fixed-Term Lease

If the landlord wishes to end a fixed-term lease, but doesn't have cause, they must wait until the term expires before expecting the tenant to move. Unless the lease or rental agreement says otherwise, the landlord isn't required to give the tenant notice to move. The landlord can expect the tenant to move by the end of the term. If the tenant doesn't move, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even if the landlord has cause to evict the tenant, the tenant may still fight the eviction in court. The tenant might have a valid defense, such as the landlord's failure to maintain the rental or illegal discrimination. The tenant's decision to fight the eviction could increase the cost of the lawsuit and increase the amount of time the tenant has to stay in the rental unit.

Removal of the Tenant

A tenant can only be removed from a rental unit after a landlord has won an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even then, the only person allowed to remove the tenant is a law enforcement officer. Maryland law has made it illegal for the landlord to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit through any other means.

Tenant's Abandoned Property

After the tenant is evicted, the landlord may find that the tenant has left behind personal property. Maryland law doesn't give much guidance on what the landlord should do with the tenant's abandoned personal property. The best practice is for the landlord to try to notify the tenant of the abandoned property and the landlord's desire to dispose of it. The landlord should give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property, then the landlord can dispose it.

Pets Found After an Eviction

Maryland law does give guidance, however, on what should be done with pets after an eviction. The law enforcement officer handling the eviction must inspect the rental for pets, and, if any are found, hand them over to the former tenant. If the former tenant isn't present, the animal must be brought to a shelter. The law enforcement officer must either provide the tenant with the contact information for the shelter, or provide the shelter with the former tenant's information. (Md. Code Real Prop., § 14-806.)

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Maryland law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures might seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

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