How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Marc Your Own Question
Marc
Marc, Attorney at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 122
Experience:  Experienced Attorney
77496635
Type Your Landlord-Tenant Question Here...
Marc is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am chelsey l. brock.. Evicted by Oculus Realty, leased

Customer Question

i am chelsey l. brock.. Evicted by Oculus Realty, leased another apt sept 16, received a notice in the mail today nov 23 of atrial date nov 18. oculus ralty is asking for $2271 late charges. Since I was not persunally served I believe no money judgement can be entered against me. Is there anything I should do? I LEASED ANOTHER APT Sept 16. .
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Greenbelt Maryland
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: Not that I know of.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I believe I covered it.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Marc replied 11 days ago.

Hi Chelsey. My name is Marc. I'm a licensed attorney, experienced in landlord tenant law, and I will be happy to assist you.

Did the notice come by certified mail? If so, that is sufficient in Maryland for service of process. If it came by regular mail, then you were not served properly. As such, the landlord's complaint could be dismissed, in which case you are correct - there would be no judgment.

BUT!! Here's the thing. If you don't go to court, the judge might find you in default anyway - even if there's no proof of proper service. Why? Because the landlord's attorney certainly won't draw the court's attention to this deficiency, and the court probably won't care. The judge will see that you, the defendant, are absent and issue a judgment of default.

Yes - you could subsequently have the default judgment vacated based on improper service; but the landlord would simply file a new complaint and serve you properly.

So, what I'm saying is - whether service was proper or not, you should show up on the scheduled date. If you don't, you could get lucky and the judge will dismiss for improper service, in which case the landlord will simply re-file it with proper service; or you'll be in default.

I would also suggest contacting Oculous and negotiating a lower amount with a payment plan. Large landlords typically prefer settling with tenants rather than going to court.

I wish you much luck, Chelsey! And I hope I've given you a better idea of your issues and options. If so, please be sure to rate my answer, since that is the only way I can receive credit.

Kind regards,

Marc