Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant

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Hosford, severely disabled and wheelchair-bound, has muscle spasms and pain.Since 1989, Hosford has resided at Foghorn's Baltimore CIty Ruscombe Gardens Apartments, subsidized through a federal “Section 8” project-based program. Hosford signed a “Drug-Free Housing Policy” with his lease. In 2014, the complex had a bed bug infestation. An extermination company entered Hosford’s unit and saw a marijuana plant growing in his bathtub. They reported this to the management office. A responding police officer concluded the plant was marijuana, confiscated it, and issued a criminal citation. A police chemist concluded that the plant was marijuana. A nolle prosequi was entered on the possession charge. Foghorn gave Hosford a notice of lease termination. When he did not vacate, Foghorn initiated an eviction. The Court of Appeals held that Maryland Code, Real Property 8-402.1(b)(1), which provides that a court ruling on a landlord-tenant dispute must conclude that a breach of a lease is “substantial and warrants an eviction” before granting judgment for possession of the leased premises, is not preempted by federal regulations mandating that subsidized Section 8 project-based housing developments include lease provisions that engaging in any drug-related criminal activity on or near the leased premises is grounds for termination of the lease. View "Chateau Foghorn, LP v. Hosford" on Justia Law

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Under the rent escrow statute, if a tenant is successful in showing that a landlord was aware of certain conditions or defects in the rental property and failed to correct them, the tenant may be entitled to an abatement or reduction of the rent or other relief. Landlord in this case filed a summary ejectment action against Tenant to collect unpaid rent and to regain possession of the unit. During trial, Tenant attempted to submit evidence of alleged defects in the rental property. The circuit court declined to accept the proffered evidence, concluding that it would be relevant only in an affirmative rent escrow action, which, according to the court, must be filed as a separate action. The circuit court proceeded to enter judgment in favor of Landlord. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment, holding that Tenant could present her evidence and contentions under the rent escrow statute in defense of the summary ejectment action brought by Landlord and was not required to present them in a separate action. Remanded. View "Cane v. EZ Rentals" on Justia Law

Posted in: Landlord - Tenant

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Respondent decided not to renew the lease of Petitioner, a tenant in an apartment building, and filed a tenant holding over action. Petitioner argued that the non-renewal and tenant holding over action were in retaliation for her advocation on behalf of the apartment building’s tenants association. The circuit court ruled in Petitioner’s favor on the question of retaliation but awarded damages for only one of the two alleged acts of retaliation. Specifically, the court found that Petitioner failed to prove that she was current on the rent at the time that she filed her tenant holding over action. The circuit court also declined to award attorneys’ fees to Petitioner. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Petitioner was not ineligible for relief as to the second alleged act of retaliation, as Petitioner’s debts to Respondent other than her fixed monthly amount specified as “rent” in her lease did not factor into whether she was current on the rent for purposes of the anti-retaliation statute; and (2) the circuit court erred in refusing to grant attorney fees without permitting Petitioner an opportunity to submit evidence concerning her entitlement to attorneys’ fees and without explaining how it chose to exercise its discretion. View "Lockett v. Blue Ocean Bristol, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Landlord - Tenant

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Tenant rented her residence from Landlord, who defaulted on the mortgage on that property. U.S. Bank National Association (USBNA), as trustee for a mortgage-backed security that owned that debt, foreclosed on Landlord's deed of trust and terminated Tenant's lease. In doing so, it sent conflicting notices to Tenant about her right under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) to remain on the property temporarily and filed a premature motion for immediate possession of the property. The circuit court granted USBNA's motion for possession. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) misleading and contradictory notices concerning a tenant's right to remain in a residence temporarily are ineffective to satisfy the purchaser's obligation under the PTFA; and (2) a motion for possession is premature when it is filed prior to the expiration of the period that the PTFA permits a bona fide tenant to remain in a residential property subject to foreclosure. Remanded. View "Curtis v. US Bank Nat'l Ass'n" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a minor and her mother, sued Defendants, owners of residential rental properties, for negligence and deceptive practices in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act after the minor suffered brain injuries allegedly resulting from her ingestion of lead-based paint at one of Defendants' properties. Defendants moved for summary judgment, contending that they had complied with the Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act by registering their property, and therefore, they were immune from suit under the immunity provisions of the Act. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Defendants, holding (1) the Act's provisions granting immunity were constitutional, and (2) Defendants' registration renewals were timely because they were mailed on December 31. The court of special appeals reversed, holding that Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity because they did not fully comply with the Act where the renewal of their registration was not received by December 31. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with directions to reverse the circuit court, holding that the immunity provisions in the Act were invalid under the Maryland Declaration of Rights because no adequate remedy was substituted for the grant of immunity and the victim was uncompensated for her injuries. View "Jackson v. Dackman Co." on Justia Law