In the last couple of years, the topic of eviction and tenants’ rights has bubbled up in the news here and there. With moratoriums staving off landlords from evicting people who have since lost their income, there is a backlog of appeals from both sides of the rental sphere.
According to WTOP News, advocates of Renters United Maryland have pushed policymakers to consider new laws that help bolster the eviction defense of tenants.
Higher ejectment surcharges
One change to policy aims to increase the state’s ejectment surcharge. Landlords owe this fee anytime they wish to begin an eviction proceeding. Money received from this fee aims to bolster legal aid and prevention programs.
As current law stands, Maryland does not require landlords to provide a reason why they choose not to renew a lease—only that they give enough notice of the choice. This leaves those renters on a month-to-month lease in a vulnerable position, regardless of how reliable they are as tenants. Current proposals may require landlords to provide proof they have a legal renters license and that they have reason enough to pursue an eviction.
Tenants’ rights today
While these proposals seek to boost the tools tenants have at their disposal, it does not fix the problems many tenants face right now. Landlords may violate a tenant’s rights by failing to provide basic services, adding fraudulent late fees and attempting illegal evictions.
Tenants still have tools to defend their rights. Everyone’s case is different but with the right investigation and resources, there is hope to either improve living situations or avoid evictions.