What Constitutes Wrongful Eviction in Maryland

Pursuant to MD Code, Real Property § 8-216, a residential tenant may be evicted only in accordance with a warrant of restitution  issued by a court and executed by a sheriff or constable or if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered possession.

Based on this law, wrongful eviction of a residential tenant occurs if:

  1. A landlord evicts a tenant or threatens to evict a tenant by locking the tenant out or any other action, including willful diminution of services to the tenant.
  2. A landlord uses words or actions intended to convince a reasonable person that the landlord intends to take imminent possession of the property. 
  3. A landlord intentionally interrupts or causes interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electricity, or gas for the purpose of forcing a tenant to abandon the property.

If the landlord obtained an accurate and valid warrant of restitution, but the tenant was not aware of the court date or issuance of the warrant of restitution, then except in limited circumstances, the landlord is not likely to be held liable for wrongful eviction. 


If a landlord has obtained a final court order awarding possession of the residential property, it is not wrongful if the landlord stops paying for utility services so long as reasonable notice of the intention has been provided and the tenant has been afforded the right to open a utility account.


If a court finds that wrongful eviction occurred, the tenant may be entitled to recovery for some or all of the following damages: 

  1. damage to or loss of  property,
  2. storage unit fees,
  3. the cost of food and housing incurred due to the wrongful eviction,
  4. the difference in rent for a new rental, and
  5. reasonable attorney fee. 



This page is published by a law office, but we are not your lawyers. This information should not be relied upon as legal advice. Nothing here shall or is intended to take the place of consulting with an attorney regarding the particulars of your case. Our Resources and Information page has helpful links. 

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