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Courts open to hear housing cases

Pursuant to Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera’s Administrative Order issued on November 24, 2020, courts will operate under Phase 2 of the Judiciary’s Phased Reopening Plan through March 14, 2021.

Types of Landlord/Tenant cases being heard:

  • (1) rent escrow actions, provided local inspection practices are capable of being conducted 

  • (2) emergency breach of lease involving threats or injury to people or property and associated warrants of restitution 

  • (3) emergency wrongful detainer actions and associated warrants of restitution 

  • (4) emergency tenant holding over actions and associated warrants of restitution 

  • (5) processing of warrants of restitution for failure to pay rent actions 

Phases may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Check the local court’s website before visiting a court location: 

An individual may request to participate remotely either by video or telephone. Please use the following form if you want to request to participate remotely: 


Landlord/Tenant Cases 

Residential Evictions Can Resume as of July 25, 2020. A previous administrative order stayed all residential evictions. These matters are now resumed.

Failure to Pay Rent. Landlords filing a complaint for failure to pay rent from May 20 through August 24, 2020, must include a Declaration of Compliance with the CARES Act. Filings that do not include the certification will not be accepted by the clerk. 

Rent Escrow. You may file rent escrow or raise it as a defense in a Failure to Pay Rent case. This is when a tenant proves there is a health or safety problem on the premises that the landlord knew about, but failed to fix. Hearings on Rent Escrow cases may depend on whether inspection practices are being conducted.

Warrant of Restitution. If a tenant does not leave the premises within four (4) days after the Landlord obtains a judgment, the Landlord can seek a warrant of restitution. This allows for a sheriff to get involved, evict the tenant and remove his or her possessions.

Tenant Holding Over. This is when a tenant remains on the premises after his or her lease is terminated.

Wrongful Detainer. This is when an individual holds possession of property without the legal right to do so.

Eviction Protections

Maryland Protection. On October 16, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan issued an Administrative Order, which provides that until the state of emergency is lifted, courts cannot grant a judgment for possession of residential, commercial, or industrial property, or issue a warrant of restitution (the document required for eviction) if the tenant can show they suffered a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19.

Federal Protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that says a landlord cannot evict a tenant before January 31, 2021, if the tenant provides the landlord a declaration stating they meet certain conditions: 

Housing Legal Services

Other Resources

Fair Development Roundtable Know Your Rights video:

FAQ on Renters Rights during COVID:

Eviction Flowchart:

Maryland Legal Aid Housing/ Consumer Law One-Pager:

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