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Maryland Court of Appeals Restates the Law on Rent Escrow Cases

Posted By: Tommy Tompsett

On November 29, 2016, The Maryland Court of Appeals published an opinion regarding rent escrow.

The 21 page opinion in Wendy Crane v. EZ Rentals is simply a restatement of the current rent escrow law found in the Maryland Real Property Article, §8-211(e).

The Honorable Robert N. McDonald's opinion was summarized as follows:

  • The summary ejectment statute provides a process for a landlord to obtain a judgment for unpaid rent and to regain possession of the premises from a delinquent tenant. The rent escrow law provides a tenant with remedies for serious conditions and defects in a residential rental unit that a landlord has failed to repair. Under the rent escrow statute, a tenant may refuse to pay rent and raise the existence of the asserted defects or conditions as an affirmative defense to a summary ejectment action brought by the landlord. Maryland Code, Real Property Article, §§8-211, 8-401. (emphasis added)

MMHA was a part of this proceeding at the request of the Court Of Appeals becasue the owner of EZ Rentals, who was not a member of the association, had passed away while the appeal was pending and thus did not file an answer to it.  MMHA, therefore, filed an amicus curiae brief, which allows a party with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of an action, but not a party tothe action, to  petition the court for permission to file a brief, ostensibly on behalf of a party but actually to suggest arationale consistent with its own views.  The Latin "Amicus Curiae" literally translates to "friend of the court."