One of the most difficult aspects of owning a rental property is finding good tenants. A good lease will clearly state the parties’ responsibilities, which helps to limit confusion and issues between the landlord and tenant(s). As nearly every landlord knows, regardless of how careful you are when choosing tenants, there may come a time when you need to evict a tenant. When that time comes, an attorney can help ensure that the process is done properly.
Notice to Vacate Property
Recently, the Court of Appeals of Maryland examined the 14-day eviction notice requirement. The landlord in that case initiated eviction proceedings against the tenant by issuing her a “Notice to Vacate Property.” The notice stated that the tenant had 14 days to vacate the property and provided no reason for the eviction.
Breach of Lease Action
Two days after issuing the Notice, the landlord filed a complaint for breach of lease in District Court. The tenant moved to dismiss the case, arguing, in part, that the landlord improperly filed its complaint before the expiration of the 14-day Notice period.
Both the District Court and the Circuit Court sided with the landlord. As the Circuit Court concluded, the law only required the landlord to give the tenant notice that she must vacate the property within 14 days, but did not prohibit the landlord from filing a breach of lease action prior to the expiration of the 14-day period.
The Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court and ruled in favor of the tenant. The Court concluded that under Maryland law, a landlord may not file a complaint for breach of lease unless (1) the tenant has breached the lease; (2) the landlord has provided notice to the tenant and the notice period has expired; and (3) the tenant has failed to vacate the property.
Call today to discuss landlord/tenant matters
At the Law Office of Ross W. Albers, we focus on helping our clients minimize the headaches and stresses often associated with rental properties. We offer a wide array of legal services for commercial and residential landlords and tenants, tailored to meet each client’s individual goals.