Maryland Court rules in favor of landlord in eviction case

December 5, 2021 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s highest court has ruled in favor of the landlord in a Baltimore eviction case that legal experts say has broad ramifications in the city.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in a 5-2 decision that the landlord of Baltimore’s Copycat building can evict tenants without a rental license.

The building’s owner relied on tenant holding over court to remove residents from the property, due to state and federal restrictions on some evictions as a result of the pandemic.

The alternative legal route enables a landlord to remove a tenant whose lease has expired, without having to provide a reason — such as failure to pay rent — for not extending or renewing the lease.

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The owner’s case was complicated by his lack of a rental license. Under city law, landlords can’t charge or collect rent without licenses.

The court’s majority said even unlicensed property owners have certain rights.

Legal experts and tenant rights advocates called the decision a major blow to Baltimore’s licensing law, which was designed to protect tenants from unsafe or predatory housing conditions. It will become “settled law,” they said, unless the Maryland legislature takes it up.