2010 Maryland Code
REAL PROPERTY
TITLE 8 - LANDLORD AND TENANT
Subtitle 2 - Residential Leases
Section 8-208.1 - Retaliatory evictions.

§ 8-208.1. Retaliatory evictions.
 

(a)  Prohibited evictions.- No landlord shall evict a tenant of any residential property or arbitrarily increase the rent or decrease the services to which the tenant has been entitled for any of the following reasons: 

(1) Solely because the tenant or the tenant's agent has filed a good faith written complaint, or complaints, with the landlord or with any public agency or agencies against the landlord; 

(2) Solely because the tenant or the tenant's agent has filed a lawsuit, or lawsuits, against the landlord; or 

(3) Solely because the tenant is a member or organizer of any tenants' organization. 

(b)  "Retaliatory evictions" defined.- Evictions described in subsection (a) of this section shall be called "retaliatory evictions". 

(c)  Attorney's fees and costs.-  

(1) If in any eviction proceeding the judgment be in favor of the tenant for any of the aforementioned defenses, the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs against the landlord. 

(2) If in any eviction proceeding the court finds that a tenant's assertion of a retaliatory eviction defense was in bad faith or without substantial justification, the court may enter judgment for reasonable attorney fees and court costs against the tenant. 

(d)  Conditions for relief.- The relief provided under this section is conditioned upon: 

(1) In the case of tenancies measured by a period of one month or more, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord. 

(2) In the case of tenancies requiring the weekly payment of rent, the court having not entered against the tenant more than 5 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid in the 12-month period immediately prior to the initiation of the action by the tenant or by the landlord, or, if the tenant has lived on the premises 6 months or less, the court having not entered against the tenant 3 judgments of possession for rent due and unpaid. 

(e)  Evictions not deemed "retaliatory evictions".- No eviction shall be deemed to be a "retaliatory eviction" for purposes of this section upon the expiration of a period of 6 months following the determination of the merits of the initial case by a court (or administrative agency) of competent jurisdiction. 

(f)  Rights not affected.- Nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord's or the tenant's rights to terminate or not renew a tenancy governed by a written lease for a stated term of greater than 1 month at the expiration of the term or at any other time as the parties may specifically agree. 

(g)  Effect of ordinance comparable in subject matter.- In the event any county or Baltimore City shall have enacted an ordinance comparable in subject matter to this section, that ordinance shall supersede the provisions of this section. 
 

[1974, ch. 645; 1975, chs. 108, 323; 1980, ch. 843, § 1; 1989, ch. 5, § 1; ch. 813; 1990, ch. 6, § 2; 1996, ch. 10, § 1; 1998, ch. 21, § 1; 1999, chs. 219, 649.] 
 

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