House Guest or Squatter Refuses to Leave

Categories :: Landlord/Tenant > Evictions

If you are the tenant or other person with the right to possess a property, you may ask someone to leave.  Even if you gave that person permission to enter the property, your guest must leave when you ask.  If a guest or squatter refuses to leave, you may seek eviction by filing a "wrongful detainer" action in District Court.  "Wrongful detainer" means to hold possession of real property (house, apartment, building, land) without the right of possession.

You may not use "wrongful detainer" to evict current or holding-over tenants.  You also may not use it for someone who has possession of the property by court order. 


You may make a complaint for wrongful detainer in writing to the District Court of the county where the property is located. 

The court will then send a summons to the person accused of wrongful possession.  The summons will give a date for the person to come to court and explain why relief should not be granted to the person filing the complaint.  

If the process server can't find the person accused of wrongful possession, the process server must attach a copy of the summons in a visible place on the property.  The process server must also send a copy to the person accused of wrongful possession by first-class mail.  

If you win the case, the court will order the sheriff to remove the person unlawfully in possession.

The court may also award you money for any harm you suffered and for court costs and attorneys' fees IF: 

  • your complaint asked for damages;  AND
  • the person in wrongful possession was personally served with the summons or agreed to the jurisdiction of the court.


You or any other party can file an appeal no later than 10 days from the date the District Court enters the the judgment.  You must file the appeal in the Circuit Court where the property is located.

The person accused of wrongful possession of the property may be able to keep possession until the Circuit court decides the appeal.  The person must:

  • File an affidavit that the appeal is not for the purpose of delaying the eviction; AND
  • File a bond OR pay
    •  the fair rental value of the property for the entire period of possession up to the date of judgment
    • all court costs in the case
    • all losses or damages that the court determined to be due because of the wrongful possession,AND
    • the fair rental value of the property during the length of the appeal.

The court must set a hearing date for the appeal that is not less than 5 days or more than 15 days after you apply for appeal.  Notice of the hearing must be served on the parties or the parties' attorneys not less than 5 days before the hearing.

If you win the appeal, the Circuit Court will order the sheriff to evict the guest or squatter.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Real Prop. § 14-132


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