Maryland Judiciary restricts operations to Phase III in response to COVID-19 surge

Posted By: Aaron Greenfield Member Outreach , The Advocate ,

On Friday, Chief Judge John Morrissey issued an order.

Effective today, November 16th and through December 31, 2020, the District Court will only hear specific landlord – tenant matters listed below. While failure to pay rent cases will be accepted by the District Court, please note that these cases will not be heard. Any failure to pay rent matter scheduled between November 16th and December 31st will be postponed and reset for a hearing when court restrictions are lifted. 

The landlord tenant actions that will be heard by the District Court during this period are as follows:

  • rent escrow actions, provided local inspection practices are capable of being conducted;
  • tenant holding over actions and any associated warrants of restitution;
  • breach of lease actions and any associated warrants of restitution;
  • wrongful detainer actions and any associated warrants of restitution;
  • processing of warrants of restitution for failure to pay rent actions;

The Order also requests residential housing providers review failure to pay rent complaints previously filed to determine if the case is still viable and if a hearing is still needed. If the case is no longer viable, you are urged to file a line of dismissal for the action. Landlords can file a single dismissal sheet containing the case numbers of all cases to be dismissed. These can be filed with the court by email or drop box drop as the local jurisdiction permits.

The District Court will follow CDC guidelines in effect until December 31, 2020.  Based on the CDC Order, as indicated in the highlight, residents can still be evicted for tenant holding over, breaches of lease and wrongful detainer as long as the matter is not financially related to COVID-19.  That information can be found here.