A tenant may file a complaint for retaliatory action if a landlord takes “retaliatory action” against the tenant. Retaliatory action can also be raised as a defense to a landlord’s action for possession. An example of a retaliatory action is a landlord filing to evict a tenant after the tenant has filed an action against the landlord for rent escrow.
What is a Retaliatory Action
Retaliatory action is bringing an action or threatening to evict a tenant, arbitrarily increasing the rent or decreasing services to which the tenant is entitled, or terminating a periodic tenancy for including but not limited to the following reasons:
(1) The tenant or his agent has provided written or actual notice of a good faith complaint about an alleged violation of the lease, Maryland law, or condition of the leased premises that is a substantial threat to the health and safety of occupants to either the landlord or any public agency against the landlord.
(2) The tenant or his agent has filed a lawsuit against the landlord or has testified or participated in a lawsuit against the landlord.
(3) Because the tenant has participated in a tenants organization.
How to Avoid Being Sued for Retaliatory Action
An action by a landlord is not considered retaliatory by Maryland law if the landlord waits six months after a tenant’s action that is protected by Maryland law before filing suit.
Tenants Can Win Big Pay Outs
If a court finds in favor of the tenant in a retaliatory action suit a judge can award up to 3 months rent, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.
The Pendergraft Firm LLC Retaliatory Eviction 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!
Unable To Afford an Attorney or Would Rather Do It Yourself?
Check out my Maryland Landlord Self-Help Eviction Legal Kit or my Maryland Tenant Rights Legal Kit. The kits contain my strategies and sample pleadings for representing landlords and tenants in Maryland.