COVID-19 Information Update
Governor Hogan issued an emergency order that temporarily prohibits Maryland courts from ordering the eviction of a tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was due to a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19 or the related state of emergency. Read the governor’s emergency order.
The District Court is not currently hearing failure to pay rent cases. Existing cases are stayed, and new cases will be stayed after they are filed. A "stay" means a pause or postponement. Learn more about Evictions and Failure to Pay Rent Cases During the COVID-19 Court Closure.
If you have questions about your specific situation, talk to an attorney. PLL has information about getting help from an attorney, including free and low-cost options.
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A housing authority may not terminate your tenancy (right to live there as a tenant) except for serious or repeated violations of "material" (important) lease terms, or other "good cause."
Serious or repeated violations of "material" (important) lease terms include:
- Failure to pay rent or some other financial obligation or
- Failure to fulfill a tenant's obligation such as;
- Not to sublet the unit (rent it to someone else)
- Not to keep boarders or lodgers
- To use the unit only as a private dwelling
- To abide by all housing authority rules and regulations
- To maintain the unit in a clan and safe condition
- To not destroy or vandalize the unit
- To pay for unit damage caused by the tenant, a member of the household, or its guests (other than normal wear and tear)
- Not to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of other residents
- Not to engage in criminal activity or alcohol abuse
- Being over the income limit for the program
Other "good cause" includes:
- Criminal activity, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse
- After you are admitted, the housing authority discovers that the tenant is ineligible
- You make false statements or commit fraud in your application for housing or recertification
- Failure of a family member to comply with the program’s community service or self-sufficiency work activity requirement
- Failure to accept a modification of a lease
Read the Law: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 24, § 966.4
A Landlord may not terminate your tenancy (right to live there as a tenant) in a HUD subsidized project except for:
- "Material" (important) noncompliance with the lease, such as:
- One or more substantial lease violations or
- Repeated minor lease violations that
- Disrupt the livability of the project
- Adversely affect the health or safety of any person or right of any tenant to quiet enjoyment of the project
- Interfere with the management of the project
- Have an adverse financial effect on the project or
- You fail to supply all information required in the recertification process, or you knowingly provide incomplete or inaccurate information during the recertification process.
- You fail to pay rent or any other financial obligation beyond the grace period.
- "Material" (important) failure to carry out any obligation imposed under Maryland's landlord and tenant laws.
- Criminal activity or alcohol abuse.
- Other good cause. This includes a situation where the landlord gives you prior notice that certain conduct will violate the lease in the future.
Notice of Termination
Landlords must give tenants written notice of any termination of the lease. The notice must include:
- The date of termination;
- The reason for the termination, with enough detail so that the tenant may prepare a defense;
- And if termination is due to failure to pay rent, the notice must include the dollar amount of the balance due and the date the computation was made; and
- Advice to tenant that if tenant remains past the termination date, the landlord may seek to enforce the termination only through court action, and that if judicial proceedings are instituted, tenant may present a defense.
The notice must be sent to tenant by first class mail, properly stamped and addressed to tenant at his address at the project, and with proper return address. A second copy must be delivered in person to any adult answering at the door of tenant’s unit. If no adult answers the door, the notice must be left under the door or attached to the door.
When termination is based on "material non-compliance" with the rental agreement or failure to carry out obligations under state or local landlord-tenant law, then the time of notice must comply with the rental agreement and the law
When termination is based on "other good cause," the termination will occur only at the end of a rental term and in accordance with the rental agreement, and in no case may the tenant have less than 30 days' notice. In addition, for "other good cause" termination, tenant must have received a prior notice stating that his or her specific conduct, if continued, would constitute a basis for termination. That prior notice must be served on the tenant in the same way as the notice of termination.
The tenant's failure to object to the termination notice does not constitute a waiver of his or her right to contest the termination in a subsequent judicial proceeding.
Landlords may seek to evict a tenant only by complying with these regulations and with state and local laws governing eviction procedures.
State or local law may give to the tenant procedural rights beyond those provided in these regulations, except where the state or local law has been preempted by federal law.
Rent Increases and other Changes in the Lease
The landlord may change the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, provided the landlord has received approval from HUD to do so. The tenant must be notified of any changes in the lease in the same way that he or she would be notified of termination of the lease, including at least 60 days’ notice in Baltimore City and at least 30 days’ notice in the rest of the state.
These provisions do not apply where tenant's occupancy is terminated because HUD, or the landlord with HUD's consent, has decided to substantially rehabilitate or demolish the project, or sell the project to a purchaser for substantial rehabilitation or demolition.
A housing authority may not terminate a Section 8 voucher except for:
- An eviction from Section 8 housing where a judge found a serious violation of the lease.
- You fail to sign consent forms.
- You fail to establish citizenship status or eligible immigration status.
- You violate a family obligation, such as you fail to:
- Supply required information, or
- Fix any Housing Quality Standards breach caused by the family, or
- Make the unit available for Section 8 inspections, or
- Notify the housing authority and landlord when the family moves, or
- Not to commit any serious or repeated lease violation, or
- Provide the housing authority with any lease termination/eviction notices, or
- Use and occupy the unit within guidelines, or
- Notify the housing authority of any family absence from the unit.
- In addition, it is considered a violation if you or a family member living in the unit:
- Have any interest in the unit, or
- Commit fraud or other program violation, or
- Engage in alcohol abuse or drug-related or violent criminal activity or activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents or persons residing in the immediate vicinity, or
- Accept Section 8 tenant-based assistance while receiving another housing subsidy for the same unit.
- You or any member of your family:
- Have been evicted from HUD housing in the last five years.
- Have been terminated from the Section 8 program.
- Commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt criminal act in connection with any federal housing program.
- Have an outstanding debt owed to any housing authority in connection with Section 8 or public housing.
- Violate a repayment agreement to a housing authority.
- Fail to comply with the family self-sufficiency program (if applicable).
- Shows abusive conduct or threatens abusive conduct towards housing authority personnel.
- Willfully and persistently fails to fulfill welfare-to-work requirements (if applicable).
The housing authority may consider "mitigating" circumstances before terminating the Section 8 voucher, including:
- The seriousness of the case.
- The extent of participation of other family members.
- The disability of a household member.
- The effect of termination of assistance on innocent household members.