Steps of the eviction process in Maryland:
Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Maryland can take around 3 weeks to 5 months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a continuance or file an appeal, the process can take longer (read more).
Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Maryland.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Maryland can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, no written notice is required before the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord isn’t required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given (if required).
- Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, doesn’t have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then they are considered an occupant under Maryland law, not a tenant, and may be evicted under a wrongful detainer action (read more).
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Maryland law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods (if any) are addressed in the lease/rental agreement.
No prior written notice is required for landlords who want to evict tenants for failing to pay rent; however, if tenants pay all past-due rent prior to being forcibly removed from the rental unit, the eviction process will be stopped.
In evictions for nonpayment of rent, the landlord may proceed directly to step 2 below without giving the tenant prior written notice of their intention to pursue an eviction action.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Maryland if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.
Maryland landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a 30-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant 30 days to move out of the rental unit in order to avoid eviction.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
Landlords are only required to give tenants 14 days’ written notice if they are involved in activity that could endanger/cause serious harm to themselves, other tenants, the landlord, or the landlord’s property.
Note that illegal activity may be included in this category.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Maryland, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord may be required to give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Week-to-week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Year-to-year– If the tenancy is from year to year, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 90-Day Notice to Quit.
These notice periods don’t apply to the city of Baltimore or to Montgomery County.
In Montgomery County, tenancies that are at least month-to-month but less than year-to-year must be given 2 months’ written notice prior to termination.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period (if any) expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Maryland landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court. In the state of Maryland (except the city of Baltimore), this costs $15 in filing fees for nonpayment of rent evictions, and $46 in filing fees for all other evictions.
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental property AND mailing a copy via first class mail
Giving a copy to the tenant is not a requirement unless the landlord is also requesting a monetary judgment against the tenant, such as a past-due rent amount or the amount of costs to repair the rental unit.
A few days, depending on the service method used.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
The reason for the eviction determines when the eviction hearing will be held.
For nonpayment of rent evictions, the hearing must be held 5 days after the complaint is filed with the court.
For all other types of the evictions, Maryland law doesn’t specify how quickly the hearing must be held after the complaint is filed.
For evictions due to lease violations or holding over after the lease/rental agreement term expires, parties may request a 6-10 day continuance, meaning the hearing would be postponed for another 6-10 days.
For nonpayment of rent evictions, the continuance can only be for 1 day .
Formal Answer. Tenants are only required to file an answer with the court for nonpayment of rent evictions. If the tenant fails to file an answer in this type of eviction, the judicial officer may rule in the landlord’s favor.
Appeals. Tenants who wish to file an appeal will only have 4 days to do so for nonpayment of rent evictions, while tenants being evicted for a violation of their lease terms or for staying beyond the end of their lease term will have 10 days to appeal.
Regardless of the reason for the eviction, if the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant would have to move out of the rental unit.
If the judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord, regardless of the reason for the eviction, a writ of restitution will be issued and the eviction process will continue.
At least 5 days, depending the reason for the eviction. If either party requests a continuance this can add another 1-10 days to the process; appeals will add another 4-10 days.
Step 4: Writ of Restitution Is Issued
The writ of restitution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff or constable returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a writ of restitution.
For nonpayment of rent evictions, the writ of restitution will be issued 4 days after the judgment in favor of the landlord.
For all other eviction cases, the writ may be issued immediately.
A few hours to 4 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
Tenants must be evicted within 60 days of the date the writ of restitution is issued for all evictions other than nonpayment of rent.
That doesn’t mean tenants automatically have 60 days to move out; it means the latest possible date a tenant could be forcibly removed is 60 days after the writ is issued.
A sheriff or constable could remove the tenant one day after the writ is issued; it all depends on how many other evictions are already scheduled and whether the next available date is a Sunday or a holiday. (Tenants cannot be evicted on Sundays or holidays.)
For nonpayment of rent evictions, tenants may be granted a 15 day stay of execution if a judicial officer finds that moving out immediately would endanger the life or health of the tenant or anyone else living in the rental unit.
~19-60 days. The tenant will have 19-60 days at the most once the writ of restitution has been issued to move out of the rental unit, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Maryland Eviction Process Timeline
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Maryland. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – between 7 and 90 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – a few days, depending on the service method used.
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – at least 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction. If a continuance is requested or an appeal is filed, this will add more time to the process.
- Issuance of Writ of Restitution – a few hours to 4 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Return of Possession – within 19-60 days of the date the writ is issued, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Flowchart of Maryland Eviction Process
For additional questions about the eviction process in Maryland, please refer to the official legislation, Maryland Real Property Code §§8-401 to 8-402.1, for more information.