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Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 7204
Experience:  29 years of experience in Landlord Tenant Law.
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I have a tenant in a rental property. She has fail to pay

Customer Question

I have a tenant in a rental property. She has fail to pay two months rent in the last 90 days. The gas & electric is in my name as statement in the lease agreement. She has failed to pay the utilities for two months. I pay one of the month's bill but not the current month. I notified the utility company to cut the gas & electric off on the 27th. Am I within my legal rights to do so with the signed lease agreement?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Maryland
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I gave her a notice "to vacant" by Nov. 2nd on the 10th of October. I have not filed a formal eviction paper as of this date. I was hoping she would just vacate without the legal procedures.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Welcome to JA and thank you for your question. I will be the Attorney that will be assisting you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
did not receive my answer....
Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

My apologies the site kicked me off.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
rather get a typed answer. I already paid.
Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Please ignore the phone call request that was not from me. I am happy to continue in this format at no additional charge.

I understand that the tenant was behind in rent, however, landlords in Maryland are not permitted to lock out tenants or turn off utilities.

"In addition, a landlord who locks out a tenant or reduces essential services can be sued for a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment by the tenant. The tenant would be able to ask for damages including, but not limited to lost or damaged property, cost of a motel and food, storage fees and reasonable attorneys' fees. A tenant who is denied entry to the property may also sue the landlord for similar damages for constructive eviction. The landlord could also be held liable for the difference the tenant must pay for rent in a new property."

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

These are common mistakes that landlords make. The utilities are still on now, correct?

"Maryland state law forbids property owners from taking matters into their own hands when it comes to evicting a tenant. If you personally attempt to force your tenant off of your property in any way, you may face legal troubles of your own. Examples of self-help evictions include:

  • Changing the property’s locks so the tenant cannot get inside the home
  • Removing the front door
  • Turning off utilities such as the water, heat, or electricity
  • Removing the tenant’s personal possessions from the property
  • Harassing the tenant in hopes of convincing them to leave of their own accord

Self-help evictions in Maryland are not only illegal, they can be dangerous as well. You never know how a tenant is going to react to your kicking them out onto the streets with all of their belongings. Your safety should take priority. Let the courts handle the eviction so that it is done in a professional, safe, and legal way."

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

So you would unfortunately need to go through the eviction process and hopefully notice of your intention to move forward with the eviction will encourage the tenant to leave sooner rather then waiting for a court date.

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

I am glad that you went with your instinct to check on the law.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter as it would be my pleasure to assist you.

If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work I would appreciate it.

The Attorneys on the site do not receive credit for their time or work if the customer does not rate us positively. There is no additional charge to you for a positive rating and you can still receive a refund. Thank you for your consideration.

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for using JA! We appreciate your business.

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Did you need information on the eviction process?