Even without a written lease, renters in Maryland have legal rights that landlords must consider when proceeding with an eviction. Maryland landlord/renter concerns vary according to county and city laws. When the district court decides in your favor, the typical eviction process in Maryland can take two to four months to complete, sometimes longer if your tenant refuses to move.
Month-to-Month Tenancy in Maryland
If you have an oral agreement with your renter, he’s considered a month-to-month tenant. Tenants who originally had a lease agreement but did not renew it at the end of the term are also month-to-month tenants, or hold overs, according to Maryland law. With a few exceptions, you need only give a 30-day written notice to move to evict a month-to-month tenant. In Montgomery County, unless it’s a single family unit, you must give your tenant a 60-day notice, and the city of Baltimore also requires landlords to provide a 60-day notice.
If your tenant failed to pay his rent on time, the required notice period is much shorter. You can file a Failure to Pay Rent notice immediately, but must accept the tenant’s payment if he offers the full amount owed. At that point, you can revert to the 30-day notice period if you still want the tenant to move. If there’s been damage to the property or other incidents that breach the original agreement, the tenant gets a 14-day notice. Hold-over tenants must follow the rules outlined in the original lease.
The Maryland Eviction Process
If your tenant has failed to pay rent, file a Failure to Pay Rent form in the county where the rental property is located. This form, available at the courthouse, must be filled out, signed and delivered to the court. You can see a sample of this form (DC-CV-082) and other pertinent eviction documents on the Maryland court website, but they cannot be printed or filled out online due to their complex nature.
After you file the Failure to Pay Rent form, the court sets a hearing date that’s often two to four weeks from the date you filed the form. The sheriff’s office delivers a copy of the FTPR to your tenant, which contains the date and time of the hearing. After the hearing, if the judge decides in your favor, your tenant has four days to pay all monies owed or vacate the premises.
If the tenant fails to move out after the date set by the judge or after the notice period ends, landlords must return to the court to file a Petition for Warrant of Restitution form (DC-CV-081). The court delivers the WOR, or Writ, to the sheriff’s office, which oversees the physical aspect of evictions. It typically takes about 10 days for the sheriff to receive the court's order.
The landlord must contact the sheriff’s department to set up the eviction. It normally takes a few weeks to get on the sheriff's schedule. In Maryland, only Baltimore requires that you serve your tenant notice of the eviction date, but it may help the process run more smoothly to advise your tenant of the date.
On Eviction Day
The landlord or a representative must be present at the time of the eviction. The sheriff will meet you at the rental unit and supervise removal of the tenant and the tenant's property from the premises. If the reason for eviction is failure to pay, the tenant may pay all monies owed at this point and continue living in the unit. Otherwise, you must change the locks on the property to regain possession. In Baltimore, a tenant’s personal property is considered abandoned once the locks are changed, but in other jurisdictions, the tenant's personal property must be removed from the household before the locks can be changed.