I need some help, folks.
I have an Army colleague who owns property in George’s County, Maryland. She is struggling to get an eviction served by the county sheriff.
Tenant – Signed a 1-year lease in November 2013. They stopped making payments on February 2014. A ‘complaint under oath’ was filed on June 2014, which was then followed by a hearing. The court sided with the owner, to which they decided that an eviction was the best recourse. As a result, the tenant was asked to leave. The tenant verbally agreed to vacate no later than September 2014. In hearing that the tenant was leaving on peaceful terms, the owner agreed to let her remain until September.
Not sure how this ties into the story, but the following month (July 2104) the tenant filed for bankruptcy.
A few months later (October 2014) during a routine walk-through, the owner noticed that there was a mattress in the house. An investigation later revealed that the former tenant had not moved out and has been squatting ever since. When confronting the squatter, she adamantly expressed that “September did not work for her plans and decided to stay longer”. To this day, the eviction has yet to be officially served/adjudicated by the sheriff's department.
- What are the rights of a squatter? Does Maryland favor the tenant or the owner?
- Since the eviction was never served by the sheriff’s office, is the squatter breaking the law?
- How can the owner expedite the eviction order (June 2014)? Is there a time limitation, whereas the sheriff MUST serve an eviction notice?
- Is the sheriff the ONLY entity that can serve the eviction notice?
- Is there anyone out in the BP community who can provide some insight on how to ‘legally’ deal with a squatter. Maybe some “unscheduled maintenance” that happens to run a bit longer than expected?
Any help you be appreciated.
- RIchard Montoya -
Your friend needs to hire a lawyer in Prince George's County and get them to file for eviction in the District Court. Given the ongoing negotiations, the bankruptcy filing, and the failure to serve and lock out, I would say the prior eviction order is almost certainly unenforceable at this point.
Maryland's Landlord Tenant law (like most other states) is fairly paternalistic and tenant friendly. I would not advise your friend to take any action that might be construed as a 'self help' eviction. They could face substantial penalties and treble damages for their trouble.
Go to this link and she can get free legal clarification on Maryland/Prince Georges rental laws:
It almost sounds like this wasn't filed properly. I don't see why else it'd take this long to get an eviction. Also, never go by verbal agreements. They mean nothing.
PG county is no fun for landlords. It's no joke either. I had to do an eviction there. I used Richard S. Basile (Lawyer) 301-441-4900. I think it was like $200 was all he charged. It's well worth the cost.
Does the owner live in TX or MD?
Thank you for your input. As luck may have it, the PG county sheriff's office contacted her the following day. They said that they will be serving the eviction on the 16th of March.
Again, thank you for your valuable input.
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Maryland does not recognize squatters, they are "trespassing". However, I agree with all of the above, get a lawyer and have them file the necessary docs to get them out of their.
There's a difference between an Eviction Judgment and a Writ of Possession.
You enforce the former by getting the latter and presenting it to the Sheriff.
The Writ is a Court Order and must be obeyed.
Not legal advice, and not from MD, but in our area of NY if a former tenant remains and the warrant of eviction (similar to MD's Writ of Possession) has not been served, it wouldn't even trespassing - it would be a holdover tenant.
Here, to empty the premises we'd get the warrant served *if* the warrant were still available or active - if the warrant is stale, we'd start from the beginning of the eviction process (or, if the warrant was never issued by the court, we might be able to reopen the original matter and appear before the judge again - but that is up to the judge, they would have a lot of latitude on what to do).
My experience in Baltimore; we had a squatter who would not leave the property (it was to go to public auction), Baltimore City Police were called, they said it is a civil matter and there was nothing they could do.
The seller had the electric turned off (form the pole), the tenants found a new place to reside.
- "The seller had the electric turned off (form the pole), ...."
That's illegal in Calif and I believe also in the Fair Housing Act.
Originally posted by @Nicole W.:
never go by verbal agreements. They mean nothing.
This should be printed as big and colorful as possible. Sounds like your friend tried to save a few dollars by not following through with the official legal eviction and foolishly trusted a tenant who had not paid rent for over six months to all of a sudden change his stripes and keep a promise.
Once a legal eviction is initiated, it should be followed through to the end. That is, if the landlord's objective is to get the person out of the house.
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