What to Expect in Rent Court

The Baltimore attorneys at Alperstein & Diener discuss reasons for appearances in Rent Court, and what to expect from a landlord or tenant’s standpoint.  

A landlord can take a tenant to Rent Court for non-payment of rent, which may result in an eviction. The trial procedures are less formal in Rent Court than regular court. This means that some of the evidentiary rules are more relaxed. This can cause confusion for inexperienced participants as they won’t know what evidence can or cannot be admitted.

If a landlord wants to bring an action against a holdover tenant, he must first provide written notice to the tenant to vacate the premises. Notice provisions vary depending on the county and the requirements specified in the written rental contract. If the tenant does not vacate, then the landlord can file suit against the tenant to have him removed from the premises.

There are limited tenant defenses besides proof of payment of rent. However, there are some remedies for a tenant who wants to bring a claim against a landlord who is not providing a habitable living place, including establishing an escrow action. Rent escrow is an action a tenant can take against a landlord to receive compensation for the landlord’s failure to make repairs on housing violations.

Whether you’re the tenant or the landlord, signing a rental agreement requires compliance on two sides. In addition to more specific requirements, the landlord has the responsibility to keep the residence habitable and the tenant has the responsibility of paying the rent.   

If you have any questions about lawsuits related to your rights in the landlord/tenant relationship, please contact Trish Cleaveland.