Sometimes things happen that can be a concern to your neighbors or the landlord. Perhaps you had some friends come over and you played the music really loud when it was late at night. Maybe your dog got out through the patio door and chased another dog that was on its owner’s leash. Maybe you neglected to report a leak under your bathroom faucet and the ceiling in the unit below you fell in. Whatever the issue is, it will need to be addressed in a way that lets the landlord know it won’t happen again. If you have a problem, the first thing to do is discuss it with the property manager or landlord. They have experience in handling concerns that tenants may have. It’s also a good idea to discuss it with your HSS specialist and case manager. They can help you find a solution that can help ease the concerns of the landlord and keep the problem from happening again.
Sometimes things may happen that can be violations of your lease and put your continued tenancy at risk. Lease violations may result in a “notice to vacate” and eventual eviction. Some examples of lease violations include failure to pay rent, failure to maintain utilities, smoking at a non-smoking property, criminal behavior by you or your guests, having an unauthorized household member stay with you for more that the allowed visit limit, not maintaining control of your pet and having it harm or threaten someone else and engaging in threatening behavior to community staff or neighbors.
If you receive a notice to vacate, it is important to contact your HSS specialist and case manager immediately so they can help you fix the situation. For example, if you had your electric turned off because you didn’t pay the bill, you can fix the problem by paying all of the money owed to the electric company and having your electric turned on again. If you failed to pay rent, you can fix it by paying all rent owed and paying subsequent rent on time. You may want to have additional services that will help you with the problem, even if they are time limited. For example, you may want to receive additional support for paying bills on time if you had trouble paying your utilities or your rent.
Housing Backup Plan
Some lease violations are more difficult to overcome. You may not be willing to get rid of your dog that threatened someone. Your guest may have engaged in a criminal behavior that was of such deep concern that the landlord is not comfortable with you continuing to live in the community. Whether these or other situations ever happen to you, it is always a good idea to create a “housing backup plan.” What will you do if you cannot continue to live in your home? Have you applied for other rent subsidy programs? Do you have family or friends who can help you with living expenses somewhere else?
What to do if you have received a Notice to Vacate – Contact your HSS specialist and case manager immediately and tell them everything you know about the situation. Usually, the notice will provide you an opportunity to have a conference with the landlord or property manager. It’s a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity to explain the situation to them and also let them know you will resolve the situation so it won’t happen again. If you plan to receive additional support services, let the landlord know. If you have a repayment plan with the utility company, show evidence of this to the landlord. The conference is your opportunity to let the landlord know you take the situation seriously and are working to keep it from happening again.
If you cannot fix the lease violation or if it was so serious that it resulted in immediate eviction, you will need legal help.
Eviction Process – In Maryland there are several steps in the eviction process:
- The landlord gives the tenant notice of the lease violation. Note that there are different required time frames for different types of lease violations. The landlord does not need to give notice if the tenant has failed to pay the rent or engaged in dangerous behavior.
- If the issue is not fixed, the landlord must file a complaint in the appropriate court and the tenant must be served by the sheriff or constable to proceed with the eviction.
- Court Hearing and Judgment – The reason for the eviction determines when the eviction hearing will be held. If the judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord, the eviction will move forward.
- A Writ of Restitution is issued by the court and the tenant has between 19 – 60 days to remove their belongings before the sheriff removes them. The time frame depends on the type of eviction and availability of the sheriff.
Learn more about the Maryland eviction process from ipropertymanagement.com: