To evict a tenant who will not leave after their lease expires, the landlord must provide property written notice and file an action for holding over. At least thirty days’ notice is required. The exact number of days depends on the lease terms and the laws of the county in which the property is located. The applicable District Court of Maryland form is DC/CV 80 (Complaint and Summons against Tenant Holding Over). This form also applies if a month to month tenant (one who pays rent without a written lease) will not leave after the landlord gives property written notice. Real Property § 8-402.
As a condition to filing a holding over action, a notice to vacate must be delivered by the landlord, or the landlord must have received notice of the tenant’s intent to vacate. Notice is required even if the tenant has by contract or some other method shortened or waived its right to notice.
The notice to vacate must be delivered at least one month before the expiration or termination date of the lease term, unless the lease or local law requires a longer notice period. For example, Montgomery County requires two (2) months’ notice for residential tenants, except in instances where the tenant rents a single family dwelling. Different notice requirements also apply to year-to-year tenancies, farm tenancies, and tenancies in Baltimore City. Real Property § 8-402(b)
Landlords cannot require a tenant, in a written agreement, to give a longer period of notice than the landlord is required to give. If a written agreement violates this provision, then the landlord may be required to abide by the longer notice period required of the tenant. Real Property § 8-501
b. The Complaint
Form DC/CV 80, along with a copy of the notice to vacate, may be filed if the tenant fails to vacate after proper notice is given. Form DC/CV 80 requires accurate identification of the rental property, certification of the date on which the notice to vacate was served, the amount of rent payable for the rental property, and any claim for damages desired by the Landlord. If the defendant does not occupy the rental property pursuant to a written lease and is not required to pay rent, then the defendant may not be a tenant, and a wrongful detainer action may be appropriate.
c. Court, Trial and Appeal
If the court finds that the landlord has a right to possess the rental property (e.g., the landlord is the owner, duly authorized property manager, or trustee/personal representative of a decedent’s estate), the lease term or tenancy is fully expired, proper notice to quit was given, and the tenant or person in possession refused to vacate, then the court shall give a judgment for possession.
The law allows the landlord to recover actual monetary damages, in excess of rent, caused by the tenant unlawfully holding over beyond expiration of the lease or termination of the tenancy. The landlord may seek damages in excess of rent as part of the eviction proceeding or in a separate proceeding. As with an action for failure to pay rent, awarding a money judgment as part of the eviction proceeding is within the discretion of the court, and personal service on the defendant in a manner sufficient for an action in tort or contract is required.
The tenant and the landlord may appeal from the judgment of the District Court to the circuit court for the county within ten (10) days from the judgment. Real Property § 8-402(b)(2)(iii) sets forth the terms under which the tenant may remain in possession during appeal.
d. Eviction and Petition for Warrant of Restitution
The eviction process for a holding over action is identical to the process in a failure to pay rent action, except that the Landlord must wait until expiration of the ten (10) day appeal period prior to filing the Petition for Warrant of Restitution. See Real Property § 8-402(b)(2).
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