OCSS

Off-Campus Housing

Eviction/Lease Term

The most common reasons for eviction are non-payment of rent, breach of lease, or remaining on the premises after the termination of the lease period. As previously mentioned, once the lease is signed, the tenants are obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract. Consequently, failure to pay the rent on time or a lease violation such as excessive noise or ignoring per prohibitions- will often set into motion the eviction process.

To evict a tenant, the landlord must first send a termination notice, usually in the form of a letter. The next step is to file suit in the district court where the rental unit is located. After the documents are filed with the court, a summons will be sent notifying the tenant of the hearing date. If the tenant fails to appear at the hearing, he or she will be held liable for any court and repossession costs which the landlord might incur including attorney's fees. If the court finds in favor of the landlord; it will order the tenant's possessions from the apartment. Also, an evicted tenant may have to bear the cost of rent due should the landlord be unable to re-rent the premises.

Smalls Claims Court

Any lawsuit claiming $5, 000 or less is considered a small claims action. Landlord tenant claims typically involve security deposits, rent, refunds, or damage to the property.

If you have a controversy with your landlord and have exhausted all other avenues, you may decied to file a small claims action. If you file such a suit, you will be the plaintiff and the landlord will be the defendant. You do not need an attorney.

To initiate a small claim, go to your local district court to obtain the one-page form. Complete it, and return it to the court. Court costs (approximately $20) can be added to the claim. Once the claim is filed with the court, papers will be served on the defendant requesting his or her presence in court. The hearing is usually within 6 to 8 weeks after the suit is filed.

Nothing can replace careful preparation for your hearing. Attend a session of small courts so you will know what to expect. Draft and polish your written claim, and practice you verbal statement several times. Be sure to have all correspondence, receipts, witnesses, and other documentation ready. Your preparation will pay off in the increased likelihood of a successful conclusion to your case.

Lease Termination

Leases do not simply end after a year. A formal, written notice to vacate must be given to the landlord at a specific time or the lease may renew for an additional period. Verbal notice is not enough. Check your lease to see how far in advance you must notify the landlord before leaving the apartment. Failure to give notice before vacating can result in forfeiture of your security deposit. You should provide the landlord with your forwarding address and you may request the return of your security deposit in the same letter.

SAMPLE LETTER TO SEND AT MOVE-OUT

This letter must be sent at least 30 days prior to lease termination unless additional time is required by the lease. In addition, this letter can also satisfy the notice requirement of the tenant's desire to be present when the landlord inspects for damage. Such a notice must be sent by certified mail 15 days prior to the date of moving. Inspection must be no later than five days after the move.

Date

Landlord Name
Landlord Address

RE: Apartment 101
333 Good Valley Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Dear Landlord,
This is to advise you that I will be ending my tenancy at the above mentioned apartment on May 13, 2012. I would request the right to be present during inspection of my apartment for damages. I will be moving to 911 Crest Point Rd, Randallstown, MD upon vacating. All future letters or notices should be sent to me at that address.

Respectfully,
Tenant Name