Maryland Landlord Tenant Law - Click here to return to US Landlord
Article - Real Property
A transferee of the reversion in leased property or of the rent has the same remedies by entry,
action, or otherwise for nonperformance of any condition or agreement contained in the lease, as
the original landlord would have had if the reversion or rent had remained in him. A transferee of
the reversion in leased property is subject to the same remedies, by action or otherwise, for
nonperformance of any agreement contained in the lease, as the original landlord. This section
applies to any transferee of a reversion in leased property, by voluntary grant or operation of law.
If the reversion of any leased premises merges in any other estate, the person entitled to the
estate into which the reversion merges has the same remedy against the tenant for nonpayment of
rent or other forfeiture, or for not performing conditions, covenants, or agreements, as the person
entitled to the reversion would have had if the reversion had not merged.
There is no merger by reason of any grant by way of mortgage or assignment of mortgage
from the tenant of any property leased for a term of years, to the landlord of the property,
whether by original or sublease, and the same rights and remedies exist as if the grantee in the
grant had no other interest or estate in the property than the one granted.
Any grant of a nonpossessory corporeal estate is valid and effective without the attornment of
the tenant in possession. However, any payment of rent by the tenant to the grantor of the grant
prior to actual notice of the grant is an effective discharge of liability for the rent.
If the effect of any provision of a lease is to indemnify the landlord, hold the landlord harmless,
or preclude or exonerate the landlord from any liability to the tenant, or to any other person, for
any injury, loss, damage, or liability arising from any omission, fault, negligence, or other
misconduct of the landlord on or about the leased premises or any elevators, stairways, hallways,
or other appurtenances used in connection with them, and not within the exclusive control of the
tenant, the provision is considered to be against public policy and void. An insurer may not claim
a right of subrogation by reason of the invalidity of the provision.
If a landlord, having only an estate for life, dies on or before the day on which the rent that has
been earned is payable and his death terminates the leasehold estate, his personal representative
may recover from the tenant the full amount of the rent if death occurs on the day the rent is
payable or a proportionate share of the rent if death occurs before this day.
If there is no demand or payment for more than 20 consecutive years of any specific rent
reserved out of a particular property or any part of a particular property under any form of lease,
the rent conclusively is presumed to be extinguished and the landlord may not set up any claim for
the rent or to the reversion in the property out of which it issued. The landlord also may not
institute any suit, action, or proceeding to recover the rent or the property. However, if the
landlord is under any legal disability when the period of 20 years of nondemand or nonpayment
expires, he has two years after the removal of the disability within which to assert his rights.
(a) A court may enter judgment for the renewal of a lease that contains a covenant for renewal,
including a lease for 99 years, renewable forever.
(b) A judgment for renewal of a lease is binding on each person who becomes a party to the
action or has been served with process in accordance with Maryland Rule 2-122 and renews the
title of all persons interested under the lease for the additional term, under the rent, and upon the
covenants, conditions, and stipulations provided in the lease.
(c) A judgment for the renewal of a lease shall be recorded among the land records of each
county in which land that is subject to the lease is located.
Uninterrupted possession for 12 months after the expiration of the lease containing a covenant
for perpetual renewal of all or part of the leased premises by the tenant or any person claiming
under him operates as a renewal with respect to the entire premises. It conclusively is presumed in
reference to the whole or any part of the leased premises, of which possession is retained, and in
favor of the tenant or of the person claiming under him, that a new lease of the whole of the
leased premises was executed prior to the expiration of the lease by the landlord named in it, or by
the person rightfully claiming under the landlord, to the tenant, or the person rightfully claiming
under the tenant for the additional term under the rent and on the covenants, conditions, and
stipulations as were provided in the lease.
(a) (1) This section does not apply to leases of property leased for business, commercial,
manufacturing, mercantile, or industrial purposes or any other purpose which is not primarily
residential, where the term of the lease, including all renewals provided for, does not exceed 99
years. A lease of the entire property improved or to be improved by any apartment, condominium,
cooperative, or other building for multiple-family use on the property constitutes a business and
not a residential purpose. The term "multiple-family use" does not apply to any duplex or
single-family structure converted to a multiple-dwelling unit.
(2) This section does not apply to irredeemable leases executed before April 9, 1884.
(3) This section does not apply to leases of the ground or site upon which dwellings or
mobile homes are erected or placed in a mobile home development or mobile home park.
(b) Except for apartment and cooperative leases, any reversion reserved in a lease for longer
than 15 years is redeemable, at the option of the tenant, after a notice of one month to the
(1) For a sum equal to the annual rent reserved multiplied by:
(i) 25, which is capitalization at 4 percent, if the lease was executed from April 8, 1884
to April 5, 1888, both inclusive;
(ii) 8.33, which is capitalization at 12 percent, if the lease was or is created after July 1,
(iii) 16.66, which is capitalization at 6 percent, if the lease was created at any other time;
(2) For a lesser sum if specified in the lease; or
(3) For a sum to which the parties may agree at the time of redemption.
(c) If the lease is executed on or after July 1, 1971, the reversion is redeemable at the
expiration of 3 years from the date of the lease. If the lease is executed on or after July 1, 1982 or
between July 1, 1969 and July 1, 1971, the reversion is redeemable at the expiration of 5 years
from the date of the lease. If the lease is executed before July 1, 1969, the reversion is redeemable
at any time.
(d) If a tenant has power to redeem the reversion from a trustee or other person who does not
have a power of sale, the reversion nevertheless may be redeemed in accordance with the
procedures prescribed in the Maryland Rules.
(e) Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, any regulatory changes made by a
federal agency, instrumentality, or subsidiary, including the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, the Federal Housing Administration, the Government National Mortgage
Association, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Veterans' Administration, shall
be applicable to redemption of reversions of leases for longer than 15 years.
If a tenant named in a lease or an assignee of a lease applies to his landlord for a renewal under
a covenant in the lease giving him the right to renewal, and if the tenant cannot produce vouchers
or satisfactory evidence showing payment of rent accrued for three years next preceding his
demand and application, the landlord, before executing the renewal of the lease or causing it to be
executed, is entitled to demand and recover not more than three years' back rent, in addition to
any renewal fine that may be provided for in the lease. The tenant may plead this section in bar of
the recovery of any larger amount of rent.
If the improvements on property rented for a term of not more than seven years become
untenantable by reason of fire or unavoidable accident, the tenancy terminates, and all liability for
rent ceases on payment proportionately to the day of fire or unavoidable accident.
A covenant or promise by the tenant to leave, restore, surrender, or yield the leased premises
in good repair does not bind him to erect any similar building or pay for any building destroyed by
fire or otherwise without negligence or fault on his part.
The right of a tenant to remove fixtures erected by him is not lost or impaired by his
acceptance of a subsequent lease of the same premises without any intermediate surrender of
(a) If a share of growing crops is reserved as rent, the rent reserved is a lien on the crops.
(b) In Calvert, Charles, Prince George's, St. Mary's, and Worcester Counties, if a share of
growing crops is reserved as rent, or advances by the landlord are made on the faith of the crops
to be grown, the reserved rent and advances made are a lien on the crops. However, the contract
making the advances shall be written and executed by the landlord and tenant.
(c) Any lien provided for by this section is not divested by sale by the tenant, the personal
representative of a deceased tenant, by the assignment of the tenant in bankruptcy or insolvency,
or by process of law.
(a) If tobacco is grown on leased property and the tenant fails to make reasonable progress
within six months from September 1 to strip and place the tobacco on the market, the landlord
may strip, pack, ship, and sell at the tenant's expense any time after March 1, tobacco grown on
the leased premises by the tenant in any previous year. All expenses paid by the landlord in the
stripping, packing, shipment, or sale shall be a first and prior lien on the tobacco and the proceeds
of the sale, notwithstanding any other agreement or obligation of the tenant or provision of law.
(b) A tenant or his agent, who interferes, directly or indirectly with the stripping, packing,
shipment, or sale of tobacco by the landlord, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is
subject to a fine of not less than $100 or by imprisonment for not less than 90 days nor more than
six months, or both.
(a) If a propane gas container with a total capacity of 25 gallons or more is placed on land,
whether aboveground or underground, by a person other than the owner of the land under a lease
or bailment between the landowner and the person placing the container on the land, the container
is movable property during the term of the lease or bailment.
(b) During the term of the lease or bailment, the ownership of the container:
(1) Is not affected by the public or private sale of the land on which it is placed; and
(2) Is not subordinate to the rights of any purchaser of the land at the sale.
(a) In an action under 8-401, 8-402, or 8-402.1 of this article in which a party prays a jury
trial, the District Court shall enter an order directing the tenant or anyone holding under the
tenant to pay all rents as they come due during the pendency of the action, as prescribed in
subsection (b) of this section.
(b) The District Court shall order that the rents be paid into the registry of an escrow account
(1) The clerk of the circuit court; or
(2) If directed by the District Court, an administrative agency of the county which is
empowered by local law to hold rents in escrow pending investigation and disposition of
complaints by tenants.
(c) (1) In an action under 8-401, 8-402, or 8-402.1 of this article, if the tenant or anyone
holding under the tenant fails to pay rent as it comes due pursuant to the terms of the order, the
circuit court, on motion of the landlord and certification of the clerk or agency of the status of the
account, shall conduct a hearing within 30 days.
(2) At the hearing the landlord must show that the escrow order is valid and that the tenant
has failed to comply with the order.
(3) The tenant may dispute the validity or terms of the District Court's escrow order or
raise any other defense, including any legal justification, to the tenant's alleged noncompliance
with the order.
(4) If the circuit court determines that the landlord has sustained the burden of showing
that the escrow order is valid and that the tenant, without cause, has failed to comply with the
District Court's order, the court may treat the tenant's prayer for jury trial as waived, and can
either immediately conduct a nonjury trial or set the matter for a future nonjury trial on the merits
of the landlord's claim.
(d) Upon final disposition of the action, the circuit court shall order distribution of the rent
escrow account in accordance with the judgment. If no judgment is entered, the circuit court shall
order distribution to the party entitled to the rent escrow account after hearing.
(a) This subtitle is applicable only to residential leases unless otherwise provided.
(b) This subtitle does not apply to a tenancy arising after the sale of owner-occupied residential
property where the seller and purchaser agree that the seller may remain in possession of the
property for a period of not more than 60 days after the settlement.
(a) For the purposes of this section, a "lease option agreement" means any lease agreement
containing a clause that confers on the tenant some power, either qualified or unqualified, to
purchase the landlord's interest in the property.
(b) No lease option agreement to purchase improved residential property, with or without a
ground rent, executed after July 1, 1971 is valid, unless it contains a statement in capital letters:
THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT TO BUY. In addition, the agreement shall contain a clear
statement of its purpose and effect with respect to the ultimate purchase of the property which is
the subject of the lease option.
(a) In this section "security deposit" means any payment of money, including payment of the
last month's rent in advance of the time it is due, given to a landlord by a tenant in order to protect
the landlord against nonpayment of rent or damage to the leased premises.
(b) (1) A landlord may not impose a security deposit in excess of the equivalent of two months'
rent, or $50, whichever is greater, per dwelling unit, regardless of the number of tenants.
(2) If a landlord charges more than the equivalent of two months' rent, or $50, whichever is
greater, per dwelling unit as a security deposit, the tenant may recover up to threefold the extra
amount charged, plus reasonable attorney's fees.
(3) An action under this section may be brought at any time during the tenancy or within
two years after its termination.
(c) (1) The landlord shall give the tenant a receipt for the security deposit. The receipt may be
included in a written lease.
(2) The landlord shall be liable to the tenant in the sum of $25 if the landlord fails to
provide a written receipt for the security deposit.
(3) The receipt or lease shall contain language informing the tenant of his rights under this
section to receive from the landlord a written list of all existing damages if the tenant makes a
written request of the landlord within 15 days of the tenant's occupancy.
(d) (1) If the landlord imposes a security deposit, on written request, he promptly shall provide
the tenant with a written list of all existing damages. The request must be made within 15 days of
the tenant's occupancy.
(2) Failure to provide the tenant with this written statement renders the landlord liable to
the tenant for threefold the amount of the security deposit. The total amount of damages shall be
subject to a setoff for damages and unpaid rent which reasonably could be withheld under this
(e) (1) The landlord shall maintain all security deposits in a banking or savings institution in the
State. The account shall be devoted exclusively to security deposits and bear interest.
(2) A security deposit shall be deposited in the account within 30 days after the landlord
(3) In the event of sale or transfer of any sort, including receivership or bankruptcy, the
security deposit is binding on the successor in interest to the person to whom the deposit is given.
Security deposits are free from any attachment by creditors.
(4) Any successor in interest is liable to the tenant for failure to return the security deposit,
together with interest, as provided in this section.
(f) (1) Within 45 days after the end of the tenancy, the landlord shall return the security deposit
to the tenant together with simple interest which has accrued in the amount of 4 percent per
annum, less any damages rightfully withheld.
(2) Interest shall accrue at six-month intervals from the day the tenant gives the landlord
the security deposit. Interest is not compounded.
(3) Interest shall be payable only on security deposits of $50 or more.
(4) If the landlord, without a reasonable basis, fails to return any part of the security
deposit, plus accrued interest, within 45 days after the termination of the tenancy, the tenant has
an action of up to threefold of the withheld amount, plus reasonable attorney's fees.
(g) (1) The security deposit, or any portion thereof, may be withheld for unpaid rent, damage
due to breach of lease or for damage to the leased premises by the tenant, his family, agents,
employees, or social guests in excess of ordinary wear and tear. The tenant has the right to be
present when the landlord or his agent inspects the premises in order to determine if any damage
was done to the premises, if the tenant notifies the landlord by certified mail of his intention to
move, the date of moving, and his new address. The notice to be furnished by the tenant to the
landlord shall be mailed at least 15 days prior to the date of moving. Upon receipt of the notice,
the landlord shall notify the tenant by certified mail of the time and date when the premises are to
be inspected. The date of inspection shall occur within five days before or five days after the date
of moving as designated in the tenant's notice. The tenant shall be advised of his rights under this
subsection in writing at the time of his payment of the security deposit. Failure by the landlord to
comply with this requirement forfeits the right of the landlord to withhold any part of the security
deposit for damages.
(2) The security deposit is not liquidated damages and may not be forfeited to the landlord
for breach of the rental agreement, except in the amount that the landlord is actually damaged by
(3) In calculating damages for lost future rents any amount of rents received by the landlord
for the premises during the remainder if any, of the tenant's term, shall reduce the damages by a
(h) (1) If any portion of the security deposit is withheld, the landlord shall present by first-class
mail directed to the last known address of the tenant, within 30 days after the termination of the
tenancy, a written list of the damages claimed under subsection (g)(1) together with a statement
of the cost actually incurred.
(2) If the landlord fails to comply with this requirement, he forfeits the right to withhold
any part of the security deposit for damages.
(i) (1) The provisions of subsections (f)(1), (f)(4), (h)(1), and (h)(2) are inapplicable to a
tenant who has been evicted or ejected for breach of a condition or covenant of a lease prior to
the termination of the tenancy or who has abandoned the premises prior to the termination of the
(2) A tenant specified in paragraph (1) may demand return of the security deposit by giving
written notice by first-class mail to the landlord within 45 days of being evicted or ejected or of
abandoning the premises. The notice shall specify the tenant's new address. The landlord, within
30 days of receipt of such notice, shall present, by first-class mail to the tenant, a written list of
the damages claimed under subsection (g)(1) together with a statement of the costs actually
incurred. Within 45 days of receipt of the notice, the landlord shall return to the tenant the
security deposit together with simple interest which has accrued in the amount of 4 percent per
annum, less any damages rightfully withheld.
(3) If a landlord fails to send the list of damages required by paragraph (2), the right to
withhold any part of the security deposit for damages is forfeited. If a landlord fails to return the
security deposit as required by paragraph (2), the tenant has an action of up to threefold of the
withheld amount, plus reasonable attorney's fees.
(4) Except to the extent specified, this subsection may not be interpreted to alter the
landlord's duties under subsections (f) and (h).
(j) No provision of this section may be waived in any lease.
(a) After January 1, 1975, any landlord who offers more than 4 dwelling units for rent on one
parcel of property or at one location and who rents by means of written leases, shall:
(1) Provide, upon written request from any prospective applicant for a lease, a copy of the
proposed form of lease in writing, complete in every material detail, except for the date, the name
and address of the tenant, the designation of the premises, and the rental rate, without requiring
execution of the lease or any prior deposit; and
(2) Embody in the form of lease and in any executed lease the following:
(i) A statement that the premises will be made available in a condition permitting
habitation, with reasonable safety, if that is the agreement, or if that is not the agreement, a
statement of the agreement concerning the condition of the premises; and
(ii) The landlord's and the tenant's specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water,
and repair of the premises.
(b) No landlord subject to subsection (a) may embody any of the following provisions in any
lease or form of lease and if any provision is embodied, it is against public policy and void:
(1) Any provision purporting to authorize the landlord to take possession of the premises
or the tenant's personal property except pursuant to law; and
(2) Any provision purporting to permit a landlord to commence an eviction proceeding or
issue a notice to quit solely and exclusively, without any other basis, as retaliation against any
tenant for planning, organizing, or joining a tenant organization with the purpose of negotiating
collectively with the landlord.
(c) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord's or the tenant's rights
arising from breach of any provision of a lease, or either party's right to terminate, or not renew a
lease pursuant to the terms of the lease or the provisions of other applicable law.
(a) This section is applicable only to single or multi-family dwelling units.
(b) A landlord shall assure his tenant that the tenant, peaceably and quietly, may enter on the
leased premises at the beginning of the term of any lease.
(c) If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with possession of the dwelling unit at the
beginning of the term of any lease, the rent payable under the lease shall abate until possession is
delivered. The tenant, on written notice to the landlord before possession is delivered, may
terminate, cancel, and rescind the lease.
(d) On termination of the lease under this section, the landlord is liable to the tenant for all
money or property given as prepaid rent, deposit, or security.
(e) If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with possession of the dwelling unit at the
beginning of the term of any lease, whether or not the lease is terminated under this section, the
landlord is liable to the tenant for consequential damages actually suffered by him subsequent to
the tenant's giving notice to the landlord of his inability to enter on the leased premises.
(f) The landlord may bring an action of eviction and damages against any tenant holding over
after the end of his term even though the landlord has entered into a lease with another tenant, and
he may join the new tenant as a party to the action.
(a) In Anne Arundel County, unless the tenant makes payment by check or rents the property
for commercial or business purposes, if property is leased for any definite term or at will, the
landlord shall give the tenant a receipt showing payment and the time period which the payment
covers. On conviction of violating this section, any person or agent shall forfeit the rent for the
period in question.
(b) Except in Anne Arundel County, when the tenant makes payment in person, other than by
check, the landlord or landlord's agent shall give the tenant a receipt.
(a) Evictions described in subsection (b) are called "retaliatory evictions."
(b) No landlord may evict a tenant of any residential property in Montgomery County because
(1) The tenant has filed a complaint against the landlord with any public agency;
(2) The tenant has filed a lawsuit against the landlord; or
(3) The tenant is a member of any tenants' organization.
(c) If the judgment is in favor of the tenant in any eviction proceeding for any of the defenses
in subsection (b), the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs
against the landlord.
(d) Nothing in this section restricts the authority of Montgomery County to legislate in the
area of landlord-tenant affairs.
(e) In addition to any other remedies provided under this title, Montgomery County may, by
local law, establish authorization for a local agency to invoke enforcement procedures upon an
administrative determination that a proposed eviction is retaliatory as prohibited by State or local
law. These enforcement procedures may include injunctive or other equitable relief.
(a) The aggrieved party in a breach of a lease has a duty to mitigate damages if the damages
result from the landlord's or tenant's:
(1) Failure to supply possession of the dwelling unit;
(2) Failure or refusal to take possession at the beginning of the term; or
(3) Termination of occupancy before the end of the term.
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) do not impose an obligation to show or lease, the vacated
dwelling unit in preference to other available units.
(c) If a tenant wrongly fails or refuses to take possession of or vacates the dwelling unit before
the end of his term, the landlord may sublet the dwelling unit without prior notice to the tenant in
default. The tenant in default is secondarily liable for rent for the term of his original agreement in
addition to his liability for consequential damages resulting from his breach, if the landlord gives
him prompt notice of any default by the sublessee.
(d) No provision in this section may be waived in any lease.
(a) A lease may not contain any of the following provisions:
(1) A provision whereby the tenant authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim
arising out of the lease.
(2) A provision whereby the tenant agrees to waive or to forego any right or remedy
provided by applicable law.
(3) A provision providing for a penalty for the late payment of rent in excess of 5% of the
amount of rent due for the rental period for which the payment was delinquent. In the case of
leases under which the rent is paid in weekly rental installments a penalty of $3 may be charged
for the late payment of rent; however, these late penalties for rent paid under a lease providing for
weekly rental installments shall constitute, in the aggregate, no more than $12 per month.
(4) Any provision whereby the tenant waives his right to a jury trial.
(5) Any provision whereby the tenant agrees to a period required for landlord's notice to
quit less than that provided by applicable law; provided, however, that neither party is prohibited
hereby from agreeing to a longer notice period than that required by applicable law.
(6) Any provision authorizing the landlord to take possession of the leased premises, or the
tenant's personal property therein unless the lease has been terminated by action of the parties or
by operation of law, and such personal property has been abandoned by the tenant without the
benefit of formal legal process.
(7) Any provision that is deemed to be against public policy and void pursuant to 8-105.
(b) (1) If any lease shall contain a provision calling for an automatic renewal of the lease term
unless prior notice is given by the party or parties seeking to terminate the lease, any such
provision shall be distinctly set apart from any other provision of the lease and provide a space for
the written acknowledgement of tenant's agreement to the automatic renewal provision, except
leases containing an automatic renewal period of one (1) month or less. Any such provision not
specifically accompanied by either the tenant's initials, signature, or witnessed mark, shall be
unenforceable by the landlord.
(2) No provision of this section shall be deemed to be a bar to the applicability of
supplementary rights afforded by any public local law enacted by the General Assembly or any
ordinance or local law enacted by any municipality or political subdivision of this State; provided,
however, that no such law can diminish or limit any right or remedy granted under the provisions
of this section.
(c) (1) Any lease provision which is prohibited by terms of this section shall be unenforceable
by the landlord.
(2) If the landlord includes in any lease a provision prohibited by this section or made
unenforceable by 8-105 or 8-203 of this title, at any time subsequent to July 1, 1975, and tenders
a lease containing such a provision or attempts to enforce or makes known to the tenant an intent
to enforce any such provision, the tenant may recover any actual damages incurred as a reason
thereof, including reasonable attorney's fees.
(d) If any word, phrase, clause, sentence, or any part or parts of this section shall be held
unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction such unconstitutionality shall not affect the
validity of the remaining parts of this section.
(a) No landlord shall evict a tenant of any residential property or arbitrarily increase the rent or
decrease the services to which the tenant has been entitled for any of the following reasons:
(1) Solely because the tenant or his agent has filed a written complaint, or complaints, with
the landlord or with any public agency or agencies against the landlord; or
(2) Solely because the tenant or his agent has filed a lawsuit, or lawsuits, against the
(3) Solely because the tenant is a member or organizer of any tenants' organization.
(b) Evictions described in subsection (a) of this section shall be called "retaliatory evictions".
(c) If in any eviction proceeding the judgment be in favor of the tenant for any of the
aforementioned defenses, the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court
costs against the landlord.
(d) The relief provided under this section is conditioned upon:
(1) In the case of tenancies measured by a period of one month or more, the court having
not entered against the tenant more than 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the
12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord.
(2) In the case of periodic tenancies measured by the weekly payment of rent, the court
having not entered against the tenant more than 5 judgments of possession for rent due and
unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by
the landlord, or, if the tenant has lived on the premises 6 months or less, the court having not
entered against the tenant 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid.
(e) No eviction shall be deemed to be a "retaliatory eviction" for purposes of this section upon
the expiration of a period of 6 months following the determination of the merits of the initial case
by a court (or administrative agency) of competent jurisdiction.
(f) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord's or the tenant's rights arising
from breach of any provision of a lease, or either party's right to terminate or not renew a lease
pursuant to the terms of the lease or the provisions of other applicable law.
(g) In the event any county or Baltimore City shall have enacted an ordinance comparable in
subject matter to this section, that ordinance shall supercede the provisions of this section.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of 8-208.1 of this article, a landlord of real property subject
to the provisions of Title 6, Subtitle 8 of the Environment Article may not evict or take any other
retaliatory action against a tenant primarily as a result of the tenant providing information to the
landlord under Title 6, Subtitle 8 of the Environment Article.
(b) For purposes of this section, a retaliatory action includes:
(1) An arbitrary refusal to renew a lease;
(2) Termination of a tenancy;
(3) An arbitrary rent increase or decrease in services to which the tenant is entitled; or
(4) Any form of constructive eviction.
(c) A tenant subject to an eviction or retaliatory action under this section is entitled to the
relief, and is eligible for reasonable attorney's fees and costs, authorized under 8-208.1 of this
(d) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord's or the tenant's rights
arising from a breach of any provision of a lease.
Every landlord shall maintain a records system showing the dates and amounts of rent paid to
him by his tenant or tenants and showing also the fact that a receipt of some form was given to
each tenant for each cash payment of rent.
(a) The owner of any residential rental property shall post a sign in a conspicuous place on that
property listing the name, address, and telephone number of the owner of the property or
management entity, if any. This information may be included in the written lease, if any, or in the
rental receipt, in lieu of posting a sign.
(b) (1) This subsection applies only in Montgomery County.
(2) In this subsection, "development" has the meaning provided in 11B-101 of this article.
(3) Before execution by a tenant of a lease for an initial term of 125 days or more, the
owner of any residential rental property within any condominium or development shall provide to
the prospective tenant, to the extent applicable, a copy of the rules, declaration, and recorded
covenants and restrictions that limit or affect the use and occupancy of the property or common
areas and to which the owner is obligated. The written lease shall include a statement, if
applicable, that the obligations of the owner that limit or affect the use and occupancy of the
property are enforceable against the owner's tenant.
(a) The purpose of this section is to provide tenants with a mechanism for encouraging the
repair of serious and dangerous defects which exist within or as part of any residential dwelling
unit, or upon the property used in common of which the dwelling unit forms a part. The defects
sought to be reached by this section are those which present a substantial and serious threat of
danger to the life, health and safety of the occupants of the dwelling unit, and not those which
merely impair the aesthetic value of the premises, or which are, in those locations governed by
such codes, housing code violations of a nondangerous nature. The intent of this section is not to
provide a remedy for dangerous conditions in the community at large which exists apart from the
leased premises or the property in common of which the leased premises forms a part.
(b) It is the public policy of Maryland that meaningful sanctions be imposed upon those who
allow dangerous conditions and defects to exist in leased premises, and that an effective
mechanism be established for repairing these conditions and halting their creation.
(c) This section applies to residential dwelling units leased for the purpose of human
habitation within the State of Maryland. This section does not apply to farm tenancies.
(d) This section applies to all applicable dwelling units whether they are
(1) publicly or privately owned or
(2) single or multiple units.
(e) This section provides a remedy and imposes an obligation upon landlords to repair and
eliminate conditions and defects which constitute, or if not promptly corrected will constitute, a
fire hazard or a serious and substantial threat to the life, health or safety of occupants, including,
but not limited to:
(1) Lack of heat, of light, electricity, or of hot or cold running water, except where the
tenant is responsible for the payment of the utilities and the lack thereof is the direct result of the
tenant's failure to pay the charges; or
(2) Lack of adequate sewage disposal facilities; or
(3) Infestation of rodents in two or more dwelling units; or
(4) The existence of paint containing lead pigment on surfaces within the dwelling unit; or
(5) The existence of any structural defect which presents a serious and substantial threat to
the physical safety of the occupants; or
(6) The existence of any condition which presents a health or fire hazard to the dwelling
(f) This section does not provide a remedy for the landlord's failure to repair and eliminate
minor defects or, in those locations governed by such codes, housing code violations of a
nondangerous nature. There is a rebuttable presumption that the following conditions, when they
do not present a serious and substantial threat to the life, health and safety of the occupants, are
not covered by this section:
(1) Any defect which merely reduces the aesthetic value of the leased premises, such as the
lack of fresh paint, rugs, carpets, paneling or other decorative amenities; or
(2) Small cracks in the walls, floors or ceilings; or
(3) The absence of linoleum or tile upon the floors, provided that they are otherwise safe
and structurally sound; or
(4) The absence of air conditioning.
(g) In order to employ the remedies provided by this section, the tenant shall notify the
landlord of the existence of the defects or conditions. Notice shall be given by
(1) a written communication sent by certified mail listing the asserted conditions or defects,
(2) actual notice of the defects or conditions, or
(3) a written violation, condemnation or other notice from an appropriate State, county,
municipal or local government agency stating the asserted conditions or defects.
(h) The landlord has a reasonable time after receipt of notice in which to make the repairs or
correct the conditions. The length of time deemed to be reasonable is a question of fact for the
court, taking into account the severity of the defects or conditions and the danger which they
present to the occupants. There is a rebuttable presumption that a period in excess of 30 days
from receipt of notice is unreasonable.
(i) If the landlord refuses to make the repairs or correct the
conditions, or if after a reasonable time he has failed to do so, the tenant may bring an action of
rent escrow to pay rent into court because of the asserted defects or conditions, or the tenant may
refuse to pay rent and raise the existence of the asserted defects or conditions as an affirmative
defense to an action for distress for rent or to any complaint proceeding brought by the landlord
to recover rent or the possession of the leased premises.
(j) (1) Whether the issue of rent escrow is raised affirmatively or defensively, the tenant may
request one or more of the forms of relief set forth in this section.
(2) In addition to any other relief sought, if within 90 days after the court finds that the
conditions complained of by the tenant exist the landlord has not made the repairs or corrected the
conditions complained of, the tenant may file a petition of injunction in the District Court
requesting the Court to order the landlord to make the repairs or correct the conditions.
(k) Relief under this section is conditioned upon:
(1) Giving proper notice, and where appropriate, the opportunity to correct, as described
by subsection (h) of this section.
(2) Payment by the tenant, into court, of the amount of rent required by the lease, unless
this amount is modified by the court as provided in subsection (m).
(3) In the case of tenancies measured by a period of one month or more, the court having
not entered against the tenant more than 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the
12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord.
(4) In the case of periodic tenancies measured by the weekly payment of rent, the court
having not entered against the tenant more than 5 judgments of possession for rent due and
unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by
the landlord, or, if the tenant has lived on the premises six months or less, the court having not
entered against the tenant 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid.
(l) It is a sufficient defense to the allegations of the tenant that the tenant, his family, his agent,
his employees, or his assignees or social guests have caused the asserted defects or conditions, or
that the landlord or his agents were denied reasonable and appropriate entry for the purpose of
correcting or repairing the asserted conditions or defects.
(m) The court shall make appropriate findings of fact and make any order that the justice of
the case may require, including any one or a combination of the following:
(1) Order the termination of the lease and return of the leased premises to the landlord,
subject to the tenant's right of redemption;
(2) Order that the action for rent escrow be dismissed;
(3) Order that the amount of rent required by the lease, whether paid into court or to the
landlord, be abated and reduced in an amount determined by the court to be fair and equitable to
represent the existence of the conditions or defects found by the court to exist; or
(4) Order the landlord to make the repairs or correct the conditions complained of by the
tenant and found by the court to exist.
(n) After rent escrow has been established, the court:
(1) Shall, after a hearing, if so ordered by the court or one is requested by the landlord,
order that the moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to the landlord after the necessary
repairs have been made; or
(2) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that some or all moneys in the escrow account
be paid to the landlord or his agent, the tenant or his agent, or any other appropriate person or
agency for the purpose of making the necessary repairs of the dangerous conditions or defects; or
(3) May, after a hearing if one is requested by the landlord, appoint a special administrator
who shall cause the repairs to be made, and who shall apply to the court to pay for them out of
the moneys in the escrow account; or
(4) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that some or all moneys in the escrow account
be disbursed to pay any mortgage or deed of trust on the property in order to stay a foreclosure;
(5) May, after a hearing, if one is requested by the tenant, order, if no repairs are made or if
no good faith effort to repair is made within six months of the initial decision to place money in
the escrow account, that the moneys in the escrow account be disbursed to the tenant. Such an
order will not discharge the right on the part of the tenant to pay rent into court and an appeal will
stay the forfeiture; or
(6) May, after an appropriate hearing, order that the moneys in the escrow account be
disbursed to the landlord if the tenant does not regularly pay, into that account, the rent owed.
(o) In the event any county or Baltimore City is subject to a public local law or has enacted an
ordinance or ordinances comparable in subject matter to this section, commonly referred to as a
"Rent Escrow Law", any such ordinance or ordinances shall supersede the provisions of this
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law or any agreement, whether written or oral, if a lessor
fails to remove any and all lead-based paint from any interior, exterior, or other surface that is
easily accessible to a child of a residential premises within 20 days after notice that lead-based
paint is present on the surfaces of the residence, the lessee may deposit his rent in an escrow
account with the clerk of the District Court for the district in which the premises are located.
(b) The right of a lessee to deposit rent in an escrow account does not preclude him from
pursuing any other right or remedy available to him at law or equity and is in addition to them.
(c) Money deposited in an escrow account shall be released under the following terms and
(1) To the lessor on certification by the appropriate local health authority that the premises
have been inspected and that all lead-based paint violations have been corrected; or
(2) To the lessee or any other person who has corrected the lead-based paint violations on
presentation of a bill for the costs of correcting the violations and a certification by the
appropriate local health authority that the premises have been inspected and that all lead-based
paint violations have been corrected.
(d) A lessee may not be evicted, the tenancy may not be terminated, and the rent may not be
raised for a lessee who elects to seek the remedies under this section. It shall be presumed that
any attempt to evict the lessee, to terminate the tenancy, or to raise the rent, except for
nonpayment of rent to an escrow agent, within two months after the certification that violations
have been corrected is in retaliation for lessee's proceeding under this section and shall be void.
(a) In Baltimore City, a liquidated damages clause or penalty clause in a residential lease is not
enforceable. If a tenant fails or refuses to take possession of or vacates the dwelling unit before
the end of his term, the tenant is liable to the landlord for loss of rent caused by the termination or
two months' rent, whichever is less, in addition to the cost of repairing damage to the premises
which may have been caused by an act or omission of the tenant.
(b) A residential lease of property in Baltimore City entered into after July 1, 1975, may not
contain a liquidated damages clause or a penalty clause.
(c) In Baltimore City, in determining the existence of a liquidated damages clause or a penalty
clause, all provisions shall be strictly construed to be a liquidated damages clause or a penalty
(d) The provisions in this section may not be waived in any residential lease of property or
space in Baltimore City.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, if a person who is on active duty with the
United States military enters into a residential lease of property and subsequently receives
permanent change of station orders or temporary duty orders for a period in excess of 3 months,
any liability of the person for rent under the lease may not exceed:
(1) 30 days' rent after written notice and proof of the assignment is given to the landlord; and
(2) the cost of repairing damage to the premises caused by an act or omission of the tenant.
(a) An application for a lease shall contain a statement which explains:
(1) The liabilities which the tenant incurs upon signing the application; and
(2) The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section.
(b) (1) If a landlord requires from a prospective tenant any fees other than a security deposit as
defined by § 8-203(a) of this subtitle, and these fees exceed $25, then the landlord shall
return the fees, subject to the exceptions below, or be liable for twice the amount of the fees in
damages. The return shall be made not later than 15 days following the date of occupancy or the
written communication, by either party to the other, of a decision that no tenancy shall occur.
(2) The landlord may retain only that portion of the fees actually expended for a credit
check or other expenses arising out of the application, and shall return that portion of the fees not
actually expended on behalf of the tenant making application.
(c) If, within 15 days of the first to occur of occupancy or signing a lease, a tenant decides to
terminate the tenancy, the landlord may also retain that portion of the fees which represents the
loss of rent, if any, resulting from the tenant's action.
(d) This section does not apply to any landlord who offers four or less dwelling units for rent
on one parcel of property or at one location, or to seasonal or condominium rentals.
(a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings
(2) "Elderly person" means an individual who is 60 years old or older.
(3) "Landlord" means an owner of residential rental property who offers more than 3
dwelling units for rent on 1 parcel of property or at 1 location.
(b) This section applies only to Montgomery County.
(c) If a tenant is an elderly person, a landlord may not prohibit the tenant from keeping a
household pet, unless specifically prohibited in writing at the time occupancy took place.
(d) A tenant is liable for any damage done to the premises by the tenant's pet.
(e) A landlord may establish reasonable rules governing the type, size, and number of pets
allowed, disposal of pet waste, and aspects of pet conduct and pet control related to protection of
the health and safety of other tenants and the property of the landlord.
(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meaning indicated unless otherwise apparent
(b) "Court" means the District Court.
(c) "Defendant" means a tenant.
(d) "Distress" means an action of distress filed pursuant to the provisions of this subtitle.
(e) "Goods" means goods, chattels, grain, growing crops, produce, unborn young of animals,
inventory, and equipment regardless of where found or located, and includes cash money found
on the leased premises. "Goods" does not include choses in action, other forms of intangible
property, written contracts, securities, bonds, notes, or other instruments for the payment of
(a) Distress for rent is an action at law and shall be brought as provided in this section.
(b) Jurisdiction in a case of distress for rent is vested exclusively in the District Court
regardless of the amount of rent for which distress is brought, notwithstanding any limitation
imposed by law on the civil monetary jurisdiction of such court.
(c) An action of distress may be brought only for unpaid rent under a written lease for a term
of more than three months, or under a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy that has continued
more than three months.
(d) An action of distress shall be brought in the county where the leased premises lie.
(a) An action of distress shall be brought by the landlord as plaintiff, his petition shall name the
tenant as defendant and contain the following information:
(1) The name and address of the landlord,
(2) The name and address of the tenant, and
(3) The facts relating to
(i) any assignment of a lease, if known,
(ii) the premises leased,
(iii) the date of the lease,
(iv) the term of the lease,
(v) the rent required to be paid by the lease, and
(vi) the amount of the rent in arrears.
(b) The petition shall be under oath or affirmation of the plaintiff, or his agent, that the facts
recited are true and correct.
(c) If a defendant is not a resident of, or amenable to service in a county where the leased
premises are located, service may be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a
postmark from the United States Postal Service. If this service is returned by the Post Office
Department or refused by the addressee or his agent, then process shall be sent by first-class mail
and the defendant returned as summoned.
(a) When an action of distress is filed, the clerk shall issue an order directing the defendant to
appear and show cause at a stated time why levy under an action of distress should not be made.
The hearing may be not earlier than seven days from date of service on the defendant.
(b) In addition, the order shall:
(1) Direct the time within which service of the petition and show cause order shall be made
on the defendant; and
(2) Inform the defendant that
(i) he may appear at the time stated and present evidence on his behalf; and
(ii) if he fails to appear, all goods on the leased premises not exempted by law may be
levied on and removed by the sheriff.
(a) On a determination of reasonable probability, the court promptly shall issue an order
directing that all goods on the leased premises not exempted by law shall be levied on. A copy of
the order of levy shall be served on each tenant on the leased premises. If no tenant is found on
the premises, a copy of the order shall be affixed in a prominent place on the interior of the leased
(b) The officer making the levy then shall proceed to make an inventory of each article of
goods distrained on and deliver a copy to each tenant found on the leased premises. If no tenant is
found, he shall affix a copy to the premises as provided above in the case of the order.
(c) The officer serving the order shall make a return of his action to the court including the
date and time of return.
(d) If the plaintiff by verified petition requests the court to include in the levy goods subject to
distress and claimed to be on the leased premises but not included in the levy and inventory, the
court, after service of a copy of the petition on the defendant and any person claiming an interest
in the goods, shall conduct a hearing on the petition. The court may amend the levy and inventory
to include those goods the court finds should be included.
(a) The levy under an action of distress shall be made solely on goods on the leased premises,
regardless of whether the goods are the property of the tenant or of some other person, except as
provided in this subtitle.
(b) When the term of a lease is for more than 15 years, levy shall be made solely on the goods
of the tenant or owner of the leasehold interest found on the leased premises. However, the goods
of any subtenant or of any third party on the leased premises are not subject to levy under distress.
(a) The following are exempt from distress:
(1) Hand-powered and operated tools used by a tenant in his occupation or livelihood;
(2) Law books of an attorney;
(3) Hand-operated instruments of a physician;
(4) Medical books of a physician;
(5) Files and professional records of an attorney or physician; and
(6) The prior perfected security interest in all goods in which the tenant has an interest.
(b) The landlord in his petition shall certify as to the existence of a perfected security interest
in any goods of the tenant. If the security interest was perfected prior to the levy under the
distraint, the landlord either shall release the property from the distraint proceedings or pay to the
holder of the security interest the balance due under the security interest. If the landlord pays the
balance, it becomes a part of the costs in the distraint proceedings. However, the holder of the
security interest, on demand by the landlord, shall give a true written statement of the balance due
under the security interest, and, if the landlord pays the balance, the holder shall assign or release
the security interest to the landlord.
Goods levied on under distress shall be held in custodia legis.
(a) In making levy under an action of distress, no forcible entry may be made into leased
premises occupied and used as a dwelling without a court order. If the levying officer cannot gain
entry, the plaintiff may file a verified petition with the court for an order directing forcible entry
into the leased premises.
(b) Forcible entry may be made for the purpose of levy into any property or building other than
those specified in subsection (a).
(c) Levy under an action of distress may be made at any hour of the day or night.
On petition of any plaintiff in distress and a showing of a need for protection, the court may
order the removal of any goods levied on from the leased premises to a place approved by the
court pending the sale of the goods. Removal of goods may be conditioned on the giving of a
bond by the plaintiff in the amount and in the form the court determines.
(a) Within seven days after the levy, any person who is not a tenant and whose goods are
levied on under distress may file a petition with the court where the action of distress is pending
for an order to exclude from levy the goods of the person not a tenant. The petition shall set forth
the facts as to the ownership of the goods and shall be verified by the petitioner.
(b) A copy of the petition shall be served on the plaintiff and defendant. If service cannot be
made on either, the petitioner shall certify this fact to the court in writing, stating the reason for it.
(c) After a hearing held on not more than ten days' notice, and on submission of proof
satisfactory to the court that the goods are not the property of the tenant, the court shall issue an
order excluding the goods from levy. This order authorizes the owner to remove his goods from
the leased premises at the owner's expense free of any claim of the landlord.
(d) The order shall provide that the claimant shall remove his goods at his expense from the
leased premises within a time to be fixed by the court. If the claimant fails to remove his goods
within the fixed time, then the goods claimed by him no longer shall be excluded from distress and
shall be subject to the landlord's claim for distress as though no petition for exclusion had been
(e) If no petition to determine ownership of goods is filed by any third person within seven
days after the date of a levy under distress, all goods on the leased premises and included in the
inventory conclusively are presumed to be the goods of the tenant and may be disposed of
according to the applicable provisions of this subtitle without any liability to the owner for the
(a) Levy on goods under distress does not affect or disturb the title to the goods. The claim or
lien of the landlord under this subtitle on the goods continues until the goods are sold as provided
in this section.
(b) All risk of loss or destruction of goods of any nature is on the owner or the tenant of the
leased premises, regardless of whether the goods were removed from the leased premises by the
officer. However, the officer is responsible to the owner for willful damage to the goods.
(a) The expense of removal of any goods from the leased premises to any other place for
storage pending sale, including the expense of removal of goods which are affixed to the property,
shall be included as a part of the costs of distress.
(b) An officer does not incur liability for removal of goods which are affixed to the property.
The officer may require the plaintiff to mail or deliver an indemnity bond to him to protect him
from any claim for damage or injury to any person or property caused by the officer's removal for
sale of goods affixed to the property.
(a) The defendant in an action of distress may file an answer, setting forth any defense he may
have to the action, including excessive rent distrained for or the rent sued is not distrainable.
(b) Hearing on the defendant's answer shall be held on not more than ten days' notice sent by
regular mail to all parties and claimants. However, the court may postpone the hearing on due
notice to all parties. At the hearing the court may determine and decide all issues raised, and issue
an order of sale of the goods and may make any order in connection with them as required.
(c) In any final order for the sale of goods distrained, the court may increase the amount of the
rent claim to an amount equal to the sum of the plaintiff's original claim plus rent accruing after
the filing of the petition for distress up to the day prior to the date of sale on which rent may fall
(d) If the tenant named as defendant in an action for distress fails to file an answer within seven
days after a levy has been made, the court, on motion of the plaintiff or on its motion, may issue
an order for sale of the goods distrained.
(e) The date of sale is in the discretion of the court but shall be held as soon as feasible.
(a) If a tenant removes his goods from the leased premises, and the officer can find no goods
of the tenant on the premises, he shall report that fact to the court. If the court is satisfied the
goods of the tenant have been removed, it may issue an order to follow goods under distress
within six months after filing of an action of distress. The order shall authorize levy on the
removed goods at any place the goods can be found within the jurisdiction of the court.
(b) If the goods are removed outside the court's jurisdiction, the plaintiff may file with the
court in the jurisdiction where the goods are located, a certified copy of the original action of
distress, together with a verified petition setting forth
(i) the fact of the original petition for distress,
(ii) the premises to which the tenant has removed the goods, and
(iii) the name and address of the occupant of the premises. If the occupant of the premises
to which the goods are removed is a person other than the tenant, an order shall be served by
first-class mail or by an officer on the other person giving him seven days from the date of service
of the order to protest seizure of the goods. If not protested, the order becomes final and
authorizes any officer to seize and remove the goods.
(c) Entry to premises under an order to follow goods under distress may be forcible.
(a) Any person whose goods are levied on or seized under distress may petition the court for
the return of the goods, free of any claim for distress. However, the court may require the filing of
a bond with the court in a form and in an amount the court determines. The bond shall run to the
State and indemnify injured persons against all claims for damage or injury resulting from the
release of the goods.
(b) The court may order a complete or partial release from any claim for distress of any goods
when requested in writing by all parties to the action of distress. No bond is required for release
of any goods in this case.
If goods are levied on under distress and remain on the leased premises and the officer is
unable to gain access to the goods without force, the court may issue an order authorizing the
officer to enter the premises by force.
(a) Notice of sale of goods under an action of distress shall be given in a newspaper published
at least once weekly and having general circulation within the jurisdiction of the court. The notice
shall be published at least one time and an additional number of times as the court designates.
(b) If no newspaper meets the requirements of this section, notice may be made by posting it
on the door of the courthouse. The notice of sale shall be published or posted at least seven days
in advance of the date of the sale and the sale shall be held not more than 28 days after notice of
(c) The notice shall contain the time and location of the sale.
Sales under distress shall be held only at public auction. The officer may remove the goods
from the leased premises to some suitable place for auction or hold the sale on the leased
premises. Cost of the removal of goods for sale shall be included as costs of the sale.
(a) Only those goods necessary to satisfy the claim for rent due and to pay all costs may be
sold in a sale under distress. Any unsold goods shall be returned to the tenant if they have been
removed or they shall be left on the premises. If a surplus of money remains after the sale and
payment of the rent claim and all costs, it shall be returned to the tenant or paid as provided by
order of the court. The cost of returning unsold goods to the premises, if removed, shall be
included as costs of the sale.
(b) Before any distrainable goods of others are sold at a sale, the goods of the tenant shall be
sold first and in their entirety, if necessary, to satisfy the claim for rent and costs. The sale of
goods of others shall be made only to the extent necessary to satisfy the rent claim and all costs.
(c) If any surplus money or unsold goods remain in the possession of an officer on completion
of proceedings in an action of distress and after payment of all claims and costs incurred, a
judgment creditor or other person claiming a right to the money or goods may petition the court
in which the action was brought for payment of his judgment or claim out of the excess of money
or goods, plus court costs expended by the creditor or claimant. After a hearing on the petition,
the court may direct payment of the money or goods or order the sale of goods in the same
manner and after proceedings similar to those in attachment or execution. Any exemption allowed
by law is permitted in these proceedings if claimed.
The officer may require a plaintiff to indemnify the officer for the anticipated costs of sale
either in the form of a surety bond or by a certified check payable to the order of the officer in an
amount sufficient to pay all expenses of the sale.
(a) The costs charged in actions of distress shall be as provided in this section.
(1) If the amount of rent distrained for is $500 or less, the cost for a petition for distress is
$10 regardless of the number of defendants to be served at the leased premises.
(2) If the amount of rent distrained for exceeds $500, then in addition to the costs of
paragraph (1), $5 shall be charged for each additional $500 or a fraction of $500 of rent distrained
(3) A $2 charge for each defendant to be served at an address other than the leased
(4) The cost of any reissue of summons for a defendant is $2.
(5) If the distress leads to an actual sale of property, the officer may charge and collect a
poundage fee not less than $3 or more than $500, computed on the sale price of the personal
property sold, as follows:
(i) 3 percent of the first $5,000 of sale price;
(ii) 2 percent of the second $5,000 of sale price; and
(iii) 1 percent of any portion of the sale price over $10,000.
(6) For filing and serving a petition on one other party or claimant, the officer may charge
and collect $2. There is a $2 charge for service on each additional person whether party, claimant,
or attorney of record.
(7) Actual costs of sale, including publication of notice of sale, auctioneer's fees, cost of
removal, storage of goods pending sale or for sale, and cost of returning unsold goods to the
premises after sale shall be charged.
(b) Filing costs shall be paid at the time of filing the action, and other costs at the time of filing
subsequent petitions. The award and distribution of costs are in the discretion of the court.
If the goods of a third party are distrained on and sold under an action of distress, the third
party has a right of action against the tenant for damages for any loss sustained by the third party
as a result of the levy and sale of his goods under distress. The action for damages may be
brought before the court before which the original action was brought, regardless of any monetary
limitation of the civil jurisdiction of the court. If the action for damages is brought in any other
court, only a certified copy of the record in the original court need be filed as evidence of the
(a) If the plaintiff in an action of distress makes an election in
writing, the court may declare the lease terminated and of no further force and effect. This
election may be made only if all tenants have been served with a copy of the action of distress and
after sale of all goods levied on. The court may not terminate any residential lease which runs for
more than 15 years.
(b) If any tenant was not served with a copy of the action of distress, the court may declare the
lease terminated if a copy of the nisi order of termination is twice returned non est as to the
(c) If the court declares a lease terminated under subsection (a), the court on application of the
plaintiff, may issue its order or judgment of restitution of the premises. The court shall issue its
warrant to the officer commanding him to deliver immediately to the plaintiff, possession in full
and ample manner as set forth in § 8-402 (b). The costs of this action is the same as in the
case of a tenant holding over.
(a) If the amount received from a sale of goods under distress, after payment of all costs and
expenses, is not sufficient to pay the plaintiff's claim, the plaintiff may file a verified petition with
the court for a deficiency money judgment. Notice of the petition shall be served on the tenant,
giving at least 14 days' notice of hearing on the petition. After the hearing, the court may order a
money judgment entered for the deficiency against the defendant regardless of whether the
amount exceeds the monetary limit of the civil jurisdiction of the court.
(b) A deficiency money judgment under a lease may be entered only against the person named
in the lease as tenant, and who signed the lease as such, or against an assignee who has assumed a
covenant in writing to pay rent.
(c) The general exemption laws of the State are applicable to the enforcement of any
deficiency money judgment given in an action of distress.
In a lease naming either husband or wife as tenant, all goods on the leased premises belonging
to either, or both, are subject to levy under distress to the same extent as if both were named in
the lease as tenants.
A petition for distress, and any other petition or pleading filed, may be amended at any time on
the terms the court orders.
(a) If a tenant under a lease dies, or, if the tenant is a corporation and ceases to exist, distress
may be brought against the tenant named in the lease regardless of death or nonexistence. The
plaintiff shall give notice of an action of distress to the personal representative of a deceased
defendant or to any person who was an officer at the time the corporation ceased to exist and the
plaintiff shall certify to the court that he has given notice. Then the plaintiff may proceed with levy
and sale as provided in this subtitle.
(b) If a tenant dies and no personal representative is appointed by a court having jurisdiction,
or if an officer of the nonexistent corporation cannot be found and, therefore, service of process is
returned non est, then, on application of the plaintiff, an order may be passed requiring a copy of
the petition for distress to be posted at the courthouse door at least one week before the date of
sale. Failure of the plaintiff to apply for the order subjects him to suit by the personal
representative of the deceased tenant, or by the officer or surviving directors of the nonexistent
corporation for any loss or damage sustained. If the plaintiff makes application for the order, he is
under no liability either to the estate of the deceased tenant, or to the surviving trustees or officers
of the nonexistent corporation.
(a) If a lease for more than three months is assigned, the assignee is liable to distress for any
goods on the leased premises as though originally named in the lease as tenant.
(b) Any goods of the assignee on the leased premises shall be subject to the landlord's distress
claim to the same extent as though the assignee was originally a tenant. This liability of goods
exists regardless of whether the assignment was oral or written and regardless of the terms set out
in the assignment. The obligation of the assignee of the lease for personal liability shall be
restricted to the terms and agreements contained in the assignment of lease. The exercise of any
right of the landlord against the assignee provided in this section does not bar any rights the
landlord may have against the assignor.
Service of all process by the court following service of the original petition in distress may be
made by first-class mail. Every party and claimant is charged with notice of each step of the
proceeding and is bound by it. A claim of nonreceipt of a notice mailed to a party or claimant does
not affect the validity of the order or notice given by first-class mail.
If the court finds that any notice required under this subtitle to be sent by mail actually has not
been received by the person to whom the notice was addressed and that injustice will result, the
court shall order a stay of further proceedings until it is satisfied that the person has had an
opportunity to protect his interests.
(a) Any aggrieved party may appeal from any final order or judgment in an action of distress to
the circuit court of the county. The appeal shall be taken within 14 days from the date of the order
(b) On appeal the case shall be tried de novo. On the application of any party to the action for
a prompt hearing of the appeal, it shall be set for trial as soon as possible. Any party has the right
to a jury trial on application in accordance with the rules adopted by the appellate court.
(c) An appeal does not stay or prevent a subsequent distress for rent falling due after the
original petition for distress. However, the court may order a stay of all further proceedings,
including those for subsequent rent, if the tenant files an appeal bond approved by the court.
(d) An appeal does not stay execution of a judgment or order unless an approved appeal bond
(a) Whenever the tenant under any lease of property, express or implied, verbal or written,
shall fail to pay the rent when due and payable, it shall be lawful for the landlord to have again and
repossess the premises so rented.
(b) (1) Whenever any landlord shall desire to repossess any premises to which he is entitled
under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, he or his duly qualified agent or attorney
shall make his written complaint under oath or affirmation, before the District Court of the county
wherein the property is situated, describing in general terms the property sought to be
repossessed, and also setting forth the name of the tenant to whom the property is rented or his
assignee or subtenant with the amount of rent due and unpaid; and praying by warrant to
repossess the premises, together with judgment for the amount of rent due and costs. The District
Court shall issue its summons, directed to any constable or sheriff of the county entitled to serve
process, and ordering him to notify by first-class mail the tenant, assignee, or subtenant to appear
before the District Court at the trial to be held on the fifth day after the filing of the complaint, to
answer the landlord's complaint to show cause why the prayer of the landlord should not be
granted, and the constable or sheriff shall proceed to serve the summons upon the tenant, assignee
or subtenant in the property or upon his known or authorized agent, but if for any reason, neither
the tenant, assignee or subtenant, nor his agent, can be found, then the constable or sheriff shall
affix an attested copy of the summons conspicuously upon the property. The affixing of the
summons upon the property after due notification to the tenant, assignee, or subtenant by
first-class mail shall conclusively be presumed to be a sufficient service to all persons to support
the entry of a default judgment for possession of the premises, together with court costs, in favor
of the landlord, but it shall not be sufficient service to support a default judgment in favor of the
landlord for the amount of rent due.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection, in Wicomico
County, in an action to repossess any premises under this section, service of process on a tenant
may be directed to any person authorized under the Maryland Rules to serve process.
(c) (1) If, at the trial on the fifth day indicated in subsection (b) of this section, the court is
satisfied that the interests of justice will be better served by an adjournment to enable either party
to procure his necessary witnesses, he may adjourn the trial for a period not exceeding one day,
except that if the consent of all parties is obtained, the trial may be adjourned for a longer period
(2) If, when the trial occurs, it appears to the satisfaction of the court, that the rent, or any
part of the rent, is actually due and unpaid, the court shall determine the amount of rent due and
enter a judgment in favor of the landlord for possession of the premises. The court may also give
judgment in favor of the landlord for the amount of rent determined to be due together with costs
of the suit if the court finds that the actual service of process made on the defendant would have
been sufficient to support a judgment in an action in contract or tort.
(3) The court, when entering the judgment, shall also order the tenant to yield and render
possession of the premises to the landlord, or his agent or attorney, within 4 days after the trial.
(4) The court may, upon presentation of a certificate signed by a physician certifying that
surrender of the premises within this 4-day period would endanger the health or life of the tenant
or any other occupant of the premises, extend the time for surrender of the premises as justice
may require. However, the court may not extend the time for the surrender of the premises
beyond 15 days after the trial.
(5) However, if the tenant, or someone for him, at the trial, or adjournment of the trial,
tenders to the landlord the rent determined by the court to be due and unpaid, together with the
costs of the suit, the complaint against the tenant shall be entered as being satisfied.
(d) (1) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection, if judgment is given in
favor of the landlord, and the tenant fails to comply with the requirements of the order within 4
days, the court shall, at any time after the expiration of the 4 days, issue its warrant, directed to
any official of the county entitled to serve process, ordering him to cause the landlord to have
again and repossess the property by putting him (or his duly qualified agent or attorney for his
benefit) in possession thereof, and for that purpose to remove from the property, by force if
necessary, all the furniture, implements, tools, goods, effects or other chattels of every description
whatsoever belonging to the tenant, or to any person claiming or holding by or under said tenant.
If the landlord does not order a warrant of restitution within sixty days from the date of judgment
or from the expiration date of any stay of execution, whichever shall be the later, the judgment for
possession shall be stricken.
(2) (i) The administrative judge of any district may stay the execution of a warrant of
restitution, from day to day, in the event of extreme weather conditions.
(ii) When a stay has been granted under this paragraph, the execution of the warrant of
restitution for which the stay has been granted shall be given priority when the extreme weather
(e) In any action of summary ejectment for failure to pay rent where the landlord is awarded a
judgment giving him restitution of the leased premises, the tenant shall have the right to
redemption of the leased premises by tendering in cash, certified check or money order to the
landlord or his agent all past due rent and late fees, plus all court awarded costs and fees, at any
time before actual execution of the eviction order. This subsection does not apply to any tenant
against whom 3 judgments of possession have been entered for rent due and unpaid in the 12
months prior to the initiation of the action to which this subsection otherwise would apply.
(f) The tenant or the landlord may appeal from the judgment of the District Court to the circuit
court for any county at any time within 4 days from the rendition of the judgment. The tenant, in
order to stay any execution of the judgment, shall give a bond to the landlord with one or more
sureties, who are owners of sufficient property in the State of Maryland, with condition to
prosecute the appeal with effect, and answer to the landlord in all costs and damages mentioned in
the judgment, and such other damages as shall be incurred and sustained by reason of the appeal.
The bond shall not affect in any manner the right of the landlord to proceed against the tenant,
assignee or subtenant for any and all rents that may become due and payable to the landlord after
the rendition of the judgment.
(a) (1) A tenant under any lease or someone holding under him, who shall unlawfully hold over
beyond the termination of the lease, shall be liable to the landlord for the actual damages caused
by the holding over.
(2) The damages awarded to a landlord against the tenant or someone holding under him,
may not be less than the apportioned rent for the period of holdover at the rate under the lease.
(3) Any action to recover damages under this section may be brought by suit separate from
the eviction or removal proceeding or in the same action and in any court having jurisdiction over
the amount in issue.
(4) Nothing contained herein is intended to limit any other remedies which a landlord may
have against a holdover tenant under the lease or under applicable law.
(b) (1) (i) Where any interest in property shall be leased for any definite term or at will, and the
landlord shall desire to repossess the property after the expiration of the term for which it was
leased and shall give notice in writing one month before the expiration of the term or
determination of the will to the tenant or to the person actually in possession of the property to
remove from the property at the end of the term, and if the tenant or person in actual possession
shall refuse to comply, the landlord may make complaint in writing to the District Court of the
county where the property is located.
(ii) The court shall issue a summons directed to any constable or sheriff of the county
entitled to serve process, ordering the constable or sheriff to notify the tenant, assignee, or
subtenant to appear on a day stated in the summons before the court to show cause why
restitution should not be made to the landlord. The constable or sheriff shall serve the summons
on the tenant, assignee, or subtenant on the property, or on the known or authorized agent of the
tenant, assignee, or subtenant. If, for any reason those persons cannot be found, the constable or
sheriff shall affix an attested copy of the summons conspicuously on the property. After notice to
the tenant, assignee, or subtenant by first-class mail, the affixing of the summons on the property
shall be conclusively presumed to be a sufficient service to support restitution.
(iii) Upon the failure of either of the parties to appear before the court on the day stated
in the summons, the court may continue the case to a day not less than six nor more than ten days
after the day first stated and notify the parties of the continuance.
(2) If upon hearing the parties, or in case the tenant or person in possession shall neglect to
appear after the summons and continuance the court shall find that the landlord had been in
possession of the leased property, that the said lease or estate is fully ended and expired, that due
notice to quit as aforesaid had been given to the tenant or person in possession and that he had
refused so to do, the court shall thereupon give judgment for the restitution of the possession of
said premises and shall forthwith issue its warrant to the sheriff or a constable in the respective
counties commanding him forthwith to deliver to the landlord possession thereof in as full and
ample manner as the landlord was possessed of the same at the time when the leasing was made,
and shall give judgment for costs against the tenant or person in possession so holding over.
Either party shall have the right to appeal therefrom to the circuit court for the county within ten
days from the judgment. If the tenant appeals and files with the District Court an affidavit that
the appeal is not taken for delay, and also a good and sufficient bond with one or more securities
conditioned that he will prosecute the appeal with effect and well and truly pay all rent in arrear
and all costs in the case before the District Court and in the appellate court and all loss or damage
which the landlord may suffer by reason of the tenant's holding over, including the value of the
premises during the time he shall so hold over, then the tenant or person in possession of said
premises may retain possession thereof until the determination of said appeal. The appellate court
shall, upon application of either party, set a day for the hearing of the appeal, not less than five
nor more than 15 days after the application, and notice for the order for a hearing shall be served
on the opposite party or his counsel at least five days before the hearing. If the judgment of the
District Court shall be in favor of the landlord, a warrant shall be issued by the appellate court to
the sheriff, who shall proceed forthwith to execute the warrant.
(3) If the tenant or person in possession shall allege that the title to the leased property is
disputed and claimed by some person whom he shall name, by virtue of a right or title accruing or
happening since the commencement of the lease, by descent or deed from or by devise under the
last will or testament of the landlord, and if thereupon the person so claiming shall forthwith
appear, or upon a summons to be immediately issued by the District Court and, made returnable
within six days next following, shall appear before the court and shall, under oath, declare that he
believes that he is entitled in manner aforesaid to the leased property and shall, with two sufficient
securities, enter into bond to the plaintiff, in such sum as the court shall think is a proper and
reasonable security to said plaintiff or parties in interest, to prosecute with effect his claim at the
next term of the circuit court for the county, then the District Court shall forbear to give judgment
for restitution and costs. If the said claim shall not be prosecuted as aforesaid, the District Court
shall proceed to give judgment for restitution and costs and issue its warrant within ten days after
the end of said term of court.
(4) (i) The provisions of § 8-402(b) shall apply to all cases of tenancies from year to
year, tenancies of the month and by the week. In case of tenancies from year to year (including
tobacco farm tenancies), notice in writing shall be given three months before the expiration of the
current year of the tenancy, except that in case of all other farm tenancies, the notice shall be
given six months before the expiration of the current year of the tenancy; and in monthly or
weekly tenancies, a notice in writing of one month or one week, as the case may be, shall be so
given; and the same proceeding shall apply, so far as may be, to cases of forcible entry and
(ii) This paragraph (4), so far as it relates to notices, does not apply in Baltimore City.
(iii) In Montgomery County, except in the case of single family dwellings, the notice by
the landlord shall be two months in the case of residential tenancies with a term of at least month
to month but less than from year to year.
(5) When the tenant shall give notice by parol to the landlord or to his agent or
representatives, at least one month before the expiration of the lease or tenancy in all cases except
in cases of tenancies from year to year, and at least three months' notice in all cases of tenancy
from year to year (except in all cases of farm tenancy, the notice shall be six months), of the
intention of the tenant to remove at the end of that year and to surrender possession of the
property at that time, and the landlord, his agent, or representative shall prove the notice from the
tenant by competent testimony, it shall not be necessary for the landlord, his agent or
representative to provide a written notice to the tenant, but the proof of such notice from the
tenant as aforesaid shall entitle his landlord to recover possession of the property hereunder. This
subparagraph shall not apply in Baltimore City.
(c) Unless stated otherwise in the written lease and initialed by the tenant, when a landlord
consents to a holdover tenant remaining on the premises, the holdover tenant becomes a periodic
week-to-week tenant if he was a week-to-week tenant before his holding over, and a periodic
month-to-month tenant in all other cases.
(a) (1) When a lease provides that the landlord may repossess the premises if the tenant
breaches the lease, and the landlord has given the tenant 1 month's written notice that the tenant is
in violation of the lease and the landlord desires to repossess the premises, and if the tenant or
person in actual possession refuses to comply, the landlord may make complaint in writing to the
District Court of the county where the premises is located. The court shall summons immediately
the tenant or person in possession to appear before the court on a day stated in the summons to
show cause, if any, why restitution of the possession of the leased premises should not be made to
(2) If, for any reason, the tenant or person in actual possession cannot be found, the
constable or sheriff shall affix an attested copy of the summons conspicuously on the property.
After notice is sent to the tenant or person in possession by first-class mail, the affixing of the
summons on the property shall be conclusively presumed to be a sufficient service to support
(3) If either of the parties fails to appear before the court on the day stated in the summons,
the court may continue the case for not less than six nor more than 10 days and notify the parties
of the continuance.
(b) If the court determines that the tenant breached the terms of the lease and that the breach
was substantial and warrants an eviction, the court shall give judgment for the restitution of the
possession of the premises and issue its warrant to the sheriff or a constable commanding him to
deliver possession to the landlord in as full and ample manner as the landlord was possessed of
the same at the time when the lease was entered into. The court shall give judgment for costs
against the tenant or person in possession. Either party may appeal to the circuit court for the
county, within ten days from entry of the judgment. If the tenant
(1) files with the District Court an affidavit that the appeal is not taken for delay;
(2) files sufficient bond with one or more securities conditioned upon diligent prosecution
of the appeal;
(3) pays all rent in arrears, all court costs in the case; and
(4) pays all losses or damages which the landlord may suffer by reason of the tenant's
holding over, the tenant or person in possession of the premises may retain possession until the
determination of the appeal. Upon application of either party, the court shall set a day for the
hearing of the appeal not less than five nor more than 15 days after the application, and notice of
the order for a hearing shall be served on the other party or his counsel at least five days before
the hearing. If the judgment of the District Court is in favor of the landlord, a warrant shall be
issued by the court which hears the appeal to the sheriff, who shall execute the warrant.
(a) Whenever, in a case that involves a 99-year ground lease renewable forever, at least 6
months ground rent is in arrears and the landlord has the lawful right to reenter for the
nonpayment of the rent, the landlord, no less than 30 days after sending to the tenant by certified
mail, return receipt requested, at the tenant's last known address a bill for the ground rent due,
may bring an action for possession of the property under #167 14-108.1 of this article; if the
tenant cannot be personally served or there is no tenant in actual possession of the property,
service by posting notice on the property may be made in accordance with the Maryland Rules.
Personal service or posting in accordance with the Maryland Rules shall stand in the place of a
demand and reentry.
(b) (1) Before entry of a judgment the landlord shall give written notice of the pending entry of
judgment to each mortgagee of the lease, or any part of the lease, who before entry of the
judgment has recorded in the land records of each county where the property is located a timely
request for notice of judgment. A request for notice of judgment shall:
(i) Be recorded in a separate docket or book that is indexed under the name of the
(ii) Identify the property on which the mortgage is held and refer to the date and
recording reference of that mortgage;
(iii) State the name and address of the holder of the mortgage; and
(iv) Identify the ground lease by stating:
1. The name of the original lessor;
2. The date the ground lease was recorded; and
3. The office, docket or book, and page where the ground lease is recorded.
(2) The landlord shall mail the notice by certified mail return receipt requested to the
mortgagee at the address stated in the recorded request for notice of judgment. If the notice is
not given, judgment in favor of the landlord does not impair the lien of the mortgagee. Except as
otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, the property is discharged from the lease and
the rights of all persons claiming under the lease are foreclosed unless, within 6 calendar months
after execution of the judgment for possession, the tenant or any other person claiming under the
(i) Pays the ground rent, arrears, and all costs awarded against that person; and
(ii) Commences a proceeding to obtain relief from the judgment.
(c) This section does not bar the right of any mortgagee of the lease, or any part of the lease,
who is not in possession at any time before expiration of 6 calendar months after execution of the
judgment awarding the landlord possession, to pay all costs and damages sustained by the
landlord and to perform all the covenants and agreements that are to be performed by the tenant.
If the court in any case brought pursuant to #167 8-401 or #167 8-402 orders an adjournment of
the trial for a longer period than provided for in the section under which the case has been
instituted, the tenant or anyone holding under him shall pay all rents due and as they come due
into the court exercising jurisdiction in the case. However, the court may order the tenant to pay
rents due and as come due into an administrative agency of any county which is empowered by
local law to hold rents in escrow pending investigation and disposition of complaints by tenants;
the court also may refer that case to the administrative agency for investigation and report to the
court. A tenant shall pay into the court the amount of rent due on or before the date to which the
trial is adjourned or within seven days after adjournment if the trial is adjourned more than seven
days, or to the administrative agency within seven days after the court has ordered the rent paid
into an administrative agency. If the tenant fails to pay rent due within this period, or as it comes
due, the court, on motion of the landlord, shall give judgment in favor of the landlord and issue a
warrant for possession in accordance with the provisions of #167 8-401(c) and (d).
No written agreement between a landlord and tenant shall provide for a longer notice period to be
furnished by the tenant to the landlord in order to terminate the tenancy than that required of the
landlord to the tenant in order to terminate the tenancy.