Wrongful evictions, also known as illegal evictions, are a common occurrence in apartments across Maryland. Wrongful evictions can occur when angry, impatient and unlawful landlords decide they do not need to follow the law and take matters into their own hands.
A tremendous increase in evictions is expected, both legal and wrongful, as COVID-protections lapse and landlords are again allowed to proceed with the legal process for evictions. Although many states, including Maryland, put in place Executive Orders with moratoriums and other protective measures against evictions, that has not stopped landlords who decide that they are above the law and choose to illegally take matters into their own hands by performing illegal evictions.
If a tenant is evicted without a court order, locked out, locked are changed, or utilities such as gas, electric or hot water are shut off or turned off illegally, you have legal rights and can fight back and recover compensation. Whitney, LLP’s attorneys can help.
Tenants who are illegally evicted often know they were wronged, but are hesitant and scared to fight back against a larger, deep-pocketed landlord. However, tenants who obtain representation and fight back with a lawsuit are able to regain control and put themselves in the drivers seat. Not only can this recover compensation, but it also helps tenants feel empowered and overcome the feelings of helplessness and of being taken advantage of that can occur after a wrongful eviction.
Whitney, LLP’s attorneys have experience suing landlords and holding them accountable for their illegal and fraudulent actions. We offer Free Consultations, and our eviction clients pay no out of pocket costs or expenses. Call 410 583 8000, or contact us online and we will be in touch.
The Baltimore Sun published an article on July 11, 2020 covering an illegal eviction lawsuit that Whitney, LLP recently filed against Hendersen-Webb involving the Pebble Creek Apartments in Essex, MD.
Maryland Eviction Laws that Landlords Must Follow
Before proceeding with an eviction in Maryland, a landlord is required to go to District Court and get a judgment in a case arising out of tenant’s failure to pay rent, holdover, or other breach of the lease. Prior to having the case heard in rent court, the tenant must be served with the summons and copy of the lawsuit.
If the landlord wins the hearing and gets a judgment against their tenant, they may file a “Petition for Warrant of Restitution”, which the judge will either grant or deny. If the Court grants the petition Petition for Warrant of Restitution, the landlord has received a Court Order and now has a limited amount of time to proceed with the eviction.
If a landlord evicts a tenant from an apartment without a Court Order, even if the tenant is late on rent, the eviction is still illegal, and the tenant may pursue claims against the landlord.
Can Tenants Sue for Illegal Eviction?
Yes, absolutely, tenants can sue landlords for illegal and wrongful eviction. A wrongful eviction is an infringement on a tenant’s most personal property and privacy rights, and there are significant legal claims that a tenant can make.
Tenants can file suit by themselves, but as with most situations, will almost certainly have a better chance of recovering compensation if they are represented by an experienced wrongful eviction attorney.
Legal Rights and Help for Evicted Tenants
The process of filing an eviction lawsuit includes drafting a complaint with the correct causes of action, which can include breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud. Whitney, LLP’s wrongful eviction attorneys help tenants who have been victimized by illegal evictions through the legal process.
After the lawsuit is filed, there is written discovery that is exchanged, when the tenant has the opportunity to ask for all of the documents and other information that the landlord based the illegal eviction on. Depositions then occur, which is where the property manager or other employee who decided to evict the tenant is questioned under oath and on the record. Then, after a scheduling conference and a settlement conference, there is a jury trial. The entire process can take over 12 months, and is difficult to negotiate if you are not familiar with how to do it and what to look for.
Recovering Compensation for Illegal Evictions
Wrongful evictions put tenants in a tough position through no fault of their own. Significant compensation can be recovered through lawsuits for wrongful evictions, including:
- Property damage – claims can be made for all personal property that was damaged when it was removed from the apartment.
- Property replacement – compensation can be recovered for the cost of replacing all items that
- Sentimental Items – photographs, baby blankets, heirlooms, letters and other personal items from loved ones are valuable and can compensation can be sought for their destruction.
- Emotional distress – Having yourself and your belongings removed from your apartment unlawfully is among the most traumatic things that can happen.
- Physical Injury – if a tenant or a member of their family is injured during the process of an illegal eviction, such as being pushed or shoved and then falling down and suffering an injury, compensation can be recovered.
- Punitive damages – punitive damages are designed to punish bad behavior. If a landlord committed fraud as part of the illegal eviction, tenants may be entitled to recover punitive damages.
Wrongful Eviction Lawyer Near Me
Illegally evicted tenants often search online for ‘a wrongful eviction lawyer near me’, or ‘an attorney near me for illegal eviction’, after they are evicted and know they were wronged, but do not know what to do about it. After finding Whitney, LLP, they are often able to receive guidance and begin to regain control over what was done to them.
Whitney, LLP offers Free Consultations to victims of evictions, and can inform tenants of their legal rights and what they need to do to begin the legal process of filing a lawsuit against their landlord to pursue compensation. Call 410 583 8000, or Contact Us Online, to start the process.