A landlord may file a complaint in District Court for breach of lease if her tenant has (1) substantially breached the lease (2) has given the tenant 30 days written notice that he has breached the lease and (3) the tenant refuses to comply.
Substantial Breach of Lease
A breach must be “substantial” enough to warrant an eviction in order for the landlord to prevail. This is an extremely high burden in the State of Maryland to overcome, as a result if a landlord has the option of using another cause of action he should probably do so. Maryland Case law has determined a substantial breach that warrants eviction is extreme and dangerous activities including but not limited to criminal activity or destroying the place. A small or minor breach is not enough. I have successfully defended tenants by arguing that the landlord has not met this high burden.
The notice requirement requires that the landlord give the tenant 30 days written notice that he has violated the lease before filing the complaint. Sending the notice by certified mail for proof of mailing is sufficient. A landlord may affix the notice to the tenants door if the first option fails. A landlord may give 14 days written notice instead of the usual 30 if the tenants activities demonstrates a clear and imminent danger to the tenant, the landlord, the landlord’s property, or any other person on the property.
Refusal To Comply
A tenant can attempt to defend against the landlord by complying with the notice and fixing the breach. If he fixes the breach and the landlord goes forward with the claim anyway whether or not the landlord will prevail largely depends on the facts of the case.
The Pendergraft Firm LLC Breach of Lease Practice
Brian Pendergraft is a Maryland landlord-tenant attorney that has successfully represented both landlords and tenants in the District Court of Maryland. Call us at (301) 205-9013 or E-mail [email protected] to schedule a free phone consultation!
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