A lease, or rental, contract typically provides that a tenant must pay rent, obey specified rules and must leave when the lease ends. A tenant's failure to follow these obligations can lead to eviction. Landlords in Prince George's County, Maryland must abide by state laws that list reasons and procedures for evictions and give tenants rights to challenge or stop evictions. Prince George's County ordinances prohibit landlords from exacting concessions of tenant's rights to notices that a lease is ending. Landlords who rent to low-income tenants must follow federal rules that define grounds to evict tenants.
Grounds for Eviction
A landlord may evict a tenant for not paying rent, staying after the lease ends or violating a lease requirements. To evict a hold-over tenant, the landlord must notify the tenant at least one month in advance that the lease is ending. (Maryland Code, Section 8-402(b)(1).) A landlord may not request that the tenant give up the right to notice or agree to less than one month's notice. (Ordinance, Section 13-163(a).) The tenant may renew the lease on the same terms of the prior lease, unless the tenant and landlord agree to new terms. (Ordinance, Section 13-161(2).) For a violation, the lease must provide that the violation is a reason for eviction and the landlord must give the tenant 30 days notice or 14 days if the violation presents a clear and imminent danger. (Maryland Code, Section 8-402.1(a).)
The landlord must take the tenant to District Court and get a judgment for possession of the rental property. (Maryland Code, Sections 8-401(b)(1), 8-402(b) and 8-402.1(a).) For non-payment of rent, the court holds a hearing five days after the landlord files the complaint for eviction. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(b)(3).)
Appealing the Eviction
A tenant may challenge, or appeal, the eviction to a higher level trial court (circuit court). A tenant being evicted for non-payment of rent has four days from the judgment date to appeal. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(f).) In cases involving hold-over tenants and breaches of the lease, the deadline is 10 days after the judgment for eviction. (Maryland Code, Sections 8-402(b)(2)(i) and 8-402.1(b)(2).) An appeal does not stop the eviction unless the tenant brings and keeps the rent current and posts a bond for any damages the landlord may suffer before the appeal is completed. (Maryland Code, Sections 8-401(f)(2), 8-402(b)(2)(iii) and 8-402.1( b)(2).)
Enforcing the Eviction
If the court awards the landlord possession and the tenant does not appeal before the deadline passes, the court issues an order for the sheriff to remove the tenant. For non-payment of rent, the tenant has four days to leave the premises. (Maryland Code, Sections 8-401(d)(1), 8-402(b)(2)(v) and 8-402.1(b)(2).) The landlord has 60 days from the judgment for possession to get a court order directing a sheriff or deputy to evict the tenant. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(d)(1).)
Redemption by the Tenant
The tenant being evicted for non-payment of rent may prevent eviction by paying all rent and late charges before the eviction. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(e).) The tenant cannot redeem the rental after the landlord has obtained three judgments for rent due and not paid in a 12-month period. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(e)(2).) Judgments for possession that are not enforced count toward the three judgments. (Maryland Code, Section 8-401(d)(ii)2.)
Grounds for Evicting a Section 8 Tenant
Section 8 tenants receive assistance from the federal government to pay rent. These tenants cannot be evicted except for "good cause." According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's form for rental agreements, "good cause" includes criminal activity, alcohol abuse, violations of law, serious or repeated lease violations, disturbing neighbors, destroying property, activity on or near the premises involving illegal drugs and the failure or refusal to accept the landlord's new lease terms after the initial lease ends.