An action for possession of property, (which in Maryland is called ejectment), is a complaint used to determine the right to possession of land. This cause of action of for a Plaintiff that believes that someone has wrongfully taken possession of their land. Although tenants and squatters technically fit this description, those matters are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the local landlord-tenant court. Ejectment is for matters that do not fall within that jurisdiction. For example, if a neighbor or a government claims possession of my land and build a fence on it, then I can sue them in an action for possession.
The elements for an ejectment- possession action are explained in Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. § 14-108.1 are as follows:
- The Plaintiff is not in possession of the property
- The Plaintiff claims title and right to possession to the real property
- The Defendant is in possession of the property
Proof of Ownership
The plaintiff must prove that he is the legal owner of the property in order to prevail. A Deed to the property is prima facie evidence that the plaintiff is the rightful owner. Plaintiff’s can also show ownership through adverse possession.
Jurisdiction and Venue
The proper Jurisdiction for an ejectment / action for possession of property action is Circuit court. The proper venue for a possession action is any County where the property is located.
Remedies For A Possession Action
The main remedy for an ejectment action is possession. But a plaintiff can also recover actual damages and mesne profits for the wrongful possession of the property. Actual damages is physical damage that was actually done to the property. Mesne profits are the rents and profits or the value of the use occupation of the of the property, during the period that it was wrongfully withheld from the owner. In addition to actual and mense damages, a Plaintiff can recover nominal damages as they would in a trespass to land action.
Need Help Pursuing An Action For Ejectment or Possession of Property?
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