Resources and Definitions and Frequent Questions:
Q. What is a Rent Court Agent?
A. A Rent Court Agent files the appropriate documents required as per the rules and procedures for the District Court of Maryland and appears on behalf of Landlord in rent court.
Q. Who needs a Rent Court Agent?
A. MarylandRentCourt.com services are available to all Landlords, Property Management Companies, Community Associations and/or any other people who find the need to start the eviction process within their jurisdiction.
Q. What jurisdictions do MarylandRentCourt.com service?
A. MarylandRentCourt.com currently staffs Agents and Detectives in the following Counties: Baltimore City; Baltimore County; Harford County; Cecil County; Anne Arundel County; Howard County; Carroll County; Frederick County; Washington County; Prince George’s County; Montgomery County
By October, 2015, MarylandRentCourt.com will staff Agents and Detectives in the remaining unnamed counties within the State of Maryland.
Q. What is needed to file a Failure to Pay Rent?
Failure to Pay Rent is a legal document and is imperative that the information be clear and complete. All adult signers of the lease must be listed (both first and last name) in the appropriate fields of the intake database. Minors are not to be included. The full street address, including suffix and street direction, if applicable must be completed.
If the house is an “affected property”, you must list your property’s MDE lead certificate number on the filing. Please take notice that your failure to list a valid certification number is grounds for dismissal by the judge.
If you are filing for “back rent” which is owed to you, the landlord must detail the “back rent” separately by month. I.E. SEPT 2012, OCT 2012, NOV 2012.
Please do not include any months to which you have collected rent for or which you have previously received judgment.
Once the Failure to Pay Rent is filed within its proper jurisdiction, the Court will mail a copy to the Tenant. The Court will forward a copy of the filed Failure to Pay Rent to the local Sheriff’s Department or Constable’s Office for processing. The local Sheriff’s Department or Constable’s Office will then post a copy of the Failure to Pay Rent to the door of the property.
Service must be achieved successfully by both methods required by law and is necessary to obtain a judgment of possession.
The most common cause of the improper service is lack of an address clearly labeled which MUST be large enough to be visible from the public-right-of-way. Multi-unit dwellings must be labeled in the same manner and should reflect the address submitted on the filed Failure to Pay Rent.
MarylandRentCourt.com is not informed of improper service until the court date. If in the event either of the services were unsuccessful, the case will be dismissed for improper service and must be refiled. As the oversight is not a fault or error on the behalf of MarylandRentCourt.com, any and all fees charges and or assessed will remain non-refundable.
If in the event the local Sheriff’s Department or Constable’s Office does not return the affidavit to the Court within the time allotted, the Judge will “Re-issue” the Failure to Pay Rent with a new court date. MarylandRentCourt.com will not assess an additional filing/service charge.
Q. Can I file for a Money Judgment after I file my Failure to Pay Rent?
A. NO. If you are seeking a Money Judgment or a No Right of Redemption Action, they must be requested before the Failure to Pay Rent is filed with the Court. You will have the opportunity to request a Money Judgment prior to check out at the time of your filing.
Q. What happens on the Court Date?
The burden of proof is on the Landlord, not the Tenant. If the Tenant disputes the alleged Failure to Pay Rent action and the Landlord has not supplied the proper documentation to argue the action, the Agent will request a postponement so the Landlord may be present to substantiate their case. MarylandRentCourt.com will not appear for the continued case under these circumstances. To properly prepare for you case the Agent will need the following:
- A signed copy of your lease and bill(s) if you are requesting anything other than monthly rent.
- A current record or ledger of rent payments/balances owed.
- Any information that is known to the landlord about a potential problem(s) with the dwelling.
- Any information as to whether the Tenant intends to be present at the hearing date and any claims the Tenant may make. After reviewing any potential discrepancies, MarylandRentCourt.com may request the Landlord’s testimony in court to address any Tenant “issues”. The Landlord will have the opportunity to notify the Agent of any issues via email.
- Any pre-trial updates. I.E. amendments by partial payments, or dismissals due to full payment. This action can be completed by editing your Failure to Pay Rent.
The Agent requests that the Landlord or Person of Contact who is available to answer any questions that may arise be available the day of court via phone.
If in the event the Tenant does not show to court, “Judgment for Plaintiff / Landlord by Default” will be awarded.
If in the event the Tenant does show to court the Agent will discuss the alleged action and amounts claimed. If both the Agent and Tenant are in agreement the Agent will inform the judge of the agreement requesting a “Judgment by Consent”.
In consideration of both examples of the common outcomes, the Tenant has 4 days to appeal the verdict. If the Tenant has not filed an appeal within the allotted 4 day time period, the Landlord may request to proceed to the next step of the eviction process.
If the Tenant shows and disagrees with the amount and the Landlord has provided the necessary documentation to present a case, the trial will commence.
If the Tenant disputes the alleged Failure to Pay Rent action and the Landlord has not supplied the proper documentation to argue the action, the Agent will request a postponement so the Landlord may be present to substantiate their case. MarylandRentCourt.com will not appear for the continued case under these circumstances.
If the Tenant alleges they withheld rent because problems exist or some other “issue”, the agent or court will determine the next course of action.
In a case where the Tenant claims repair issues threatening “Life, Health or Safety”, the judge may order that a Rent Escrow be established. A court appointed inspector will inspect the dwelling and report back to the Court, during the next trial date. The Tenant will be ordered to pay into the Rent Escrow or to bring the money owed to the next hearing date.
Depending on the circumstances, the Judge may reduce the amount of rent owed to you by the tenant.
MarylandRentCourt.com does not appear for continued rent escrow cases.
On occasion the Agent is approached by the Tenant on the court date and requested to pay the amount owed. Depending on the circumstances, the Agent will;
- Instruct the Tenant to pay the Landlord directly. In this case the Agent will proceed with the trial and a judgment will be entered.
- Accept payment on behalf of Landlord. This payment is in the form of cash or money order ONLY. The Agent will supply a receipt for any and all money collected on behalf of the Landlord. Only a full payment of all moneys owed will result in the action being dismissed; any partial payment the Agent will accept and amend the Failure to Pay Rent during the trial to reflect the proper balance owed.
The Agent will not accept a check in any form from any tenant.
The MarylandRentCourt.com account holder will receive an email outlining the trial’s outcome.
Q. How do I file my Warrant of Restitution?
A. The Warrant of Restitution may be filed no earlier than 7 business days after the court date. If payment has been collected during the 7 business days, the Failure to Pay Rent must be amended prior to filing. MarylandRentCourt.com will prompt you to enter the, new amount due if applicable. If the Landlord accepts any form of payment after the Warrant of Restitution is filed; the Landlord may NOT proceed with the Eviction Process. If the Tenant pays in full, including court costs, no further action is needed. If the Tenant forwards only a partial payment, you should decline the payment with an advisement that only full payment, including court cost, will be accepted prior to the eviction.
Q. How do I schedule my eviction?
A. If your property falls within the jurisdiction of Baltimore City or surrounding counties, a copy of the Warrant of Restitution is forwarded to the local Sheriff’s Department / Constable’s Office for execution. Once the local Sheriff’s Department / Constable’s Office receives the copy of the signed Warrant of Restitution, you are eligible to schedule your eviction. Please note that this is a service offered by MarylandRentCourt.com (Baltimore City Properties Only); MarylandRentCourt.com will contact the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Department and schedule your eviction for you.
If in the event your Tenant satisfies the judgment after the eviction is scheduled, you will need to notify the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Department to cancel the scheduled eviction.
Q. How do I complete my Eviction Notification for my Baltimore City Property?
A. . If your property is within the jurisdiction of Baltimore City, the Landlord must provide notice of the eviction date to the Tenant. This is a service offered by MarylandRentCourt.com (Baltimore City Properties Only); MarylandRentCourt.com will complete the Eviction Notification which is required by the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Department to perform the eviction. Without this item your Baltimore City Property will not be eligible for eviction.
Q. How do I complete my Eviction for my Baltimore City Property?
A. It is forbidden for you to breech the dwelling prior to the Deputies / Constable’s arrival. Be prompt, and ensure you have all of the required documents necessary to complete the eviction. This is a service offered by MarylandRentCourt.com (Baltimore City Properties Only); MarylandRentCourt.com will meet the Deputy on the day of the scheduled eviction and complete the lock change and take possession of the property on behalf of the Landlord. If MarylandRentCourt.com is retained to complete the task of standing in on behalf of the Landlord; it is not required for the Landlord to be present.