Topics on this page:
- Return to Phase 5
- Rent Payment Assistance
- CARES Act
- CDC Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions
- Water, electricity or other utilities
District Court Communication Regarding District Court Restricted Operations and Landlord/Tenant Actions During Return to Phase IV - Updated February 26, 2021.
Housing Cases and COVID-19 - Information for Landlords (Md. Courts Website)
Housing Cases and COVID-19 - Information for Tenants (Md. Courts Website)
Phase 5 of the Judiciary's Phased Reopening Plan began on April 26, 2021. The courts are fully operational and will require continued social distancing and health protocols. The District Courts are hearing all landlord/tenant case types, including failure to pay rent and breach of lease cases.
Warrants of Restitution - A warrant of restitution is a type of court order. This court order tells the sheriff/constable to carry out an eviction. If the court enters a judgment in a landlord/tenant case, then the court may authorize a warrant of restitution on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about warrants of restitution. Also, see the Maryland Courts website for information about extended deadlines for warrants of restitution related to landlord/tenant matters.
Local Orders - Your local District Court may have additional orders related to eviction. Check for local orders here.
Hearings may be in person or held remotely. You can request to participate remotely.
Read the Administrative Order: Eighth Amended Administrative Order on the Suspension During the COVID-19 Emergency of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences; Amended Administrative Order Expanding Statewide Judiciary Operations in Light of the COVID-19 Emergency
If you cannot pay your rent, the first thing to do is talk to your landlord. You may be able to delay payment or work out a partial payment plan. You should also check your lease for payment options and deadlines. Also, consider contacting a rental assistance program in your area:
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- 211 Database for rent payment assistance
- Department of Human Services - Local Offices
Affirmative Defense (Governor's Executive Order) - Governor Larry Hogan issued an order requiring that the court cannot issue a judgment for possession or warrant for restitution (the documents required before you can be evicted) if the tenant can show they suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 virus or the state of emergency.
- This includes substantial loss of income due to job loss, reduction in compensated hours of work, or the need to miss work to care for a school-aged child.
- This is a temporary order that ends when Maryland's state of emergency and catastrophic emergency is rescinded.
- This order applies to residential and commercial tenants.
- This order does not waive rent payments.
- Landlords have remedies other than eviction, such as actions for money judgments.
- If the tenant raises this, the court will treat it as an affirmative defense in failure to pay rent cases and breach of lease actions until the state of emergency is lifted or the Executive Order is amended.
- The judge will decide whether you have provided sufficient evidence to support this defense.
Affirmative Defense (CDC Order) - Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order related to evictions that may prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant under very specific circumstances.
- See the section below for more details about the CDC Order.
- This does not prevent the Landlord from filing a failure to pay rent case against you, but does provide you with an affirmative defense.
- If you raise this defense, the court will treat it as an affirmative defense.
- The judge will decide whether you have provided sufficient evidence to support this defense.
- Read the District Court's Communication on CDC Agency Order and Landlord Tenant Actions (March 30, 2021)
Successfully raising these affirmative defenses does not mean that rent is not due. Instead, if you successfully assert a defense based on the Governor's Executive Order or the CDC Order, the court will determine the amount that is due for possession, but will reserve entry of judgment until such time as the judgment is not prohibited by the Executive Order or the CDC Order. Once the Governor's Executive Order or the CDC Order is no longer in effect, the court will enter each judgment for possession that was reserved by the court.
Landlords of some kinds of housing cannot file failure to pay rent cases until after July 25, 2020. This moratorium applies to public housing, federally subsidized (Section 8) housing, and residential property that is subject to a federally backed mortgage. Additionally, landlords or agents of these properties cannot evict tenants without a 30 day notice after the moratorium is lifted. This means that a tenant may not be evicted before August 25.
Declaration of Compliance
- Landlords must file a CARES Act Declaration of Compliance with the court for all failure to pay rent complaints from May 20 through August 24, 2020.
- The Clerk's Office will not accept failure to pay rent filings without a Declaration of Compliance.
- A Declaration of Compliance is not required for failure to pay rent complaints filed on or after August 25, 2020.
- Forms are available on the Maryland Courts website.
On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a temporary halt in residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is effective September 4, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
- This temporary halt or moratorium does not apply to everyone.
- The moratorium is not automatic. You and every adult listed on your rental agreement or lease must submit a Declaration to your landlord.
- The CDC moratorium does not prevent a landlord from filing a failure to pay rent case. You may need to bring the Declaration with you to court.
- This does NOT cover foreclosure on a home mortgage.
- Read the order very carefully to determine whether you are eligible.
Rent Payments and Fees: This order does NOT waive rent obligations. You are still required to pay rent and other payments due under your lease agreement. This order does NOT waive any fees, penalties, or interest associated with the failure to pay rent or other housing payment that may be payable under your lease agreement.
Residential Property: This order applies to property leased for residential purposes.
- This includes any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling that you have leased for residential purposes.
- This does NOT include any hotel, motel, or other guest house that you have rented as a temporary or seasonal guest.
- Commercial property is not included.
Declaration: You AND every adult listed on your rental agreement or lease must submit a Declaration to your landlord. Under penalty of perjury, you must declare that:
- you have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- you expect to earn no more than $99,000 in 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), were not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS, OR received a stimulus check under the CARES Act;
- you are unable to pay the full rent payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- you are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as your circumstances permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expense; AND
- if evicted, you would likely be homeless or forced to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting because you have no other available housing options.
A copy of declaration is available as an attachment to the order. Be aware that there are serious consequences if you make any false or misleading statements or omissions, including fines and jail time. Submit this Declaration to your landlord. Do not submit the Declaration to the CDC.
NOTE: Even if you meet the requirements, you can still be evicted for reasons other than the failure to pay rent or other housing payment (e.g., criminal activity, threatening the health and safety of other residents, damaging property, etc.) Read the terms of your lease carefully.
Landlords: There are serious consequences if you violate this order, including fines and jail time.
Read the Agency Order: 85 Federal Register 55292 (September 4, 2020)
NOTE: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an interim final rule that requires "debt collectors" to provide tenants with written notice of their protections under the CDC Agency Order before filing for eviction in a failure to pay rent case. This rule takes effect on May 3, 2021. More information is available in the District Court's Communication Regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Interim Final Rule Involving the CDC Agency Order and Failure to Pay Rent Landlord Tenant Actions.
Read the Interim Final Rule: 86 Federal Register 21163 (April 22, 2021)
Electric, gas, sewage disposal, telephone, water, cable, or internet providers can terminate your service if you do not pay your bill.
The Maryland Public Service Commission is encouraging utilities to work with customers who are behind on their bills and set up payment plans to turn service back on. More information is available on the Commission's website.