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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12206
Experience:  JD, MBA
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Today I received a notice to all occupants to vacate. The

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Today I received a notice to all occupants to vacate. The notice says I have 10 days unless I can demonstrate I am a bona fide tenant. I have been renting here since 1993 and there was no lease. Lately my rent has been in the form of petty cash plus utility payments. If I can show the payments made to the utility companies does that qualify me as a bona fide tenant under Maryland law, and do I get an additional 90 days to relocate?

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

A lease or tenancy is considered "bona fide" only if (1) the tenant is not the child, spouse or parent of the original landlord, (2) the lease transaction was made at arm’s length (i.e., the lessor and lessee act independently), and (3) the rent is not substantially less than fair market rent for the property.

Assuming you can prove (1) and (2), you must still prove that the rent that you pay is fair market value. For example, if you're only paying $100 per month, and the owner could be renting it for $1000 per month, then that is not fair market value and you would not be considered a bona fide tenant. On the other hand, if you paid $800 per month, then you would likely be considered a bona fide tenant since $800 in that example is substantially the fair market value (even though the owner could potentially rent it for $1000).

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