Affected Property means property constructed before 1950, (*before 1978 on or after January 1, 2015) that contains at least one residential rental dwelling unit, unless otherwise exempted by law, “Affected property” is subject to inspection and registration requirements. “Affected property” does not include property that has been tested and certified as lead-free. The court provides a document that explains the Requirements to Certify Compliance With Inspection & Certification Requirements.

Amendment is any change to the original court filing paperwork. Once a Failure to Pay Rent is filed, the case may be amended down. An example of this may be accepting a partial rent payment between the time of the filing and the court date. Judges won’t often allow a case to be amended up.

Arrears (Back Rent) is monies owed to you other than the current month/late charge.  This may include previous rent, or a water bill if charged as rent, or depending on your lease and jurisdiction of what is allowed as collectible in rent court.

Case Continued or Postponed is an interchangeable term, for whatever reason the judge determines he or she cannot make a judgement and rescheduled for a future date. **NOTE: Rent Court Manager will ask for a dismissal and you’ll have to refile the case. We make one court appearance on your behalf with each case filing. Which is why it’s necessary to submit all documentation.

DOD SCRA Verification is the Department of Defense Servicemember Civil Relief Act military status verification request at the time of filing a court complaint. Servicemembers are granted certain protections if they are deployed. This request is compulsory, and required by federal law, and is necessary for each filing regardless if the are subsequent months. Judges have begun enforcing this rull with higher frequency and are quick to dismiss cases that do not have a current verification. Once submitting your request, a document will be provided that can be uploaded to our system. The link can be found here: https://scra.dmdc.osd.mil/scra/#/home

Dismissal happens when a case is no longer active, for various reasons. If a full payment was made prior to the court date, and you notify us of the update, the attorney on your behalf will dismiss the case. The judge may dismiss the case if information is missing, such as proof of a valid lead inspection certificate, a non-licensed or non-registered property, or if procedure wasn’t followed properly.

Failure to Pay Rent (FTPR) is a Complaint, also known as a Rent Notice, that is filed on your behalf to start the eviction process for non-payment of rent. It is a legal document completed based on the information you provide, and is subject to penalty of perjury. Do not try to game the system or hedge your bets or falsify information; if so, we will no longer represent you in any future cases. Worse, the court may bring charges against you!

Future Rent is sometimes collectible based on the court date in relation to the next month, and the judge. Be default, we typically request future rent with our filings, because they can always be amended down, but not up.

Judgment by Consent occurs when the tenant appears for the court hearing and agrees to the amount claimed on the notice.

Judgment by Default happens when the Tenant does not appear in court to challenge the claim.

Judgment for Possession normally happens most of the time in favor of the landlord for possession of the property assuming the case isn’t contested or continued.  The tenant may exercise their “Right of Redemption” (See below.)

Jurisdiction is the City/County in which the property is subject to, and the court where the case will be heard. It is critical that you select the correct County when filing your case.

Late Charge is allowed under Maryland law for residential properties so long as it’s written in the lease. It may not exceed 5% of the monthly contract rent. If your lease makes for other provisions, the judge will amend the case, so as a practice Rent Court Manager will only provide for a 5% allowance. If the rent is subsidized, the maximum late charge is 5% of the tenant’s portion only.

Lead Paint Certificate is required for all affected properties through MDE registration. This registration is sometimes confused with Baltimore City Registration, which is separate.  When asked for the MDE Registration or Inspection number, the number to reference is on the top right corner of the certificate.  A new lead certificate is required each time a new tenant moves into the property.  If you do not have an inspection certificate, and file and FTPR, the case will be dismissed by the judge.

MDE Tracking Number is your owner number issued to you by the MDE as the owner when you first register with the MDE.

MDE is the Maryland Department of the Environment

Money Judgment is what is necessary to sue the tenant for money damages. This is often confused with the judgement for possession, even among attorney’s who do not practice Tenant/Landlord Law very often: They are two separate matters. A money judgement is something a landlord may seek in addition to a typical judgment for possession.  In most instances, Rent Court Judges will not issue a money judgement concurrently with the judgement for possession.

With a money judgment the landlord converts the judgment to a civil case and has a hearing with the tenant in court. This is a very procedural process. To be most effective we recommend an attorney, particularly if the landlord desires to place a lien on the tenant /garnish their wages.  Check out our blog post “Money Judgment in the Maryland Eviction Process” for obtaining and collecting on a money judgment.

Motion happens with a written request to the court filed with the Clerk. This can be tenant or landlord generated. It may be to change the original filing, change of hearing date, or a request for a new hearing based on new information obtained after the trial.

Non-Est is the term used when a person cannot be found. The sheriff’s return of process when service is not made because the person was not found. The court requires that tenants be notified of a rent notice court date both through regular mail and a posting on the property by the Sheriff or Constable; it must be successful by both methods. If not, the case is dismissed and must be filed again. Reasons for unsuccessful notice are: wrong zip code, incomplete address, misspelled street, and the property doesn’t have house numbers or door numbers as marked on the FTPR complaint. (Rent Court Manager provides this as part of the filing process with the court, as a landlord filing through our system you won’t need to be responsible for this).

Right of Redemption allows a tenant to cure unpaid rent and redeem possession by paying the judgement amount in that notice (plus court costs) by cash or money order all the way up to the day of eviction. Keep in mind, if that is the situation, it’s likely the process has taken at least six weeks until the eviction day, so the tenant is most likely in arrears for the following rent months as well. Be sure you filed separately for that month even after your filed your Warrant of Restitution (Eviction).

No Right of Redemption can be requested and is granted by the judge. This means that even if the tenant has the money to pay, they can’t stay and will still be evicted. There is important procedure to comply with. It is allowed if the landlord has three (3) prior judgments in their favor within the previous 12 months. No right of redemption can be requested on the 4th filing. **Baltimore City** is four (4) landlord judgments, and the 5th filing can request No Right of Redemption. Judgments in favor of the landlord are the only cases that can be counted, dismissed cases or cases ruled in favor of the tenant are not counted. The case numbers and court dates of the previous judgments must be listed correctly on the notice at the time of filing, you must provide those at the time of your filing.

Personal Service means

Reissue happens if the Sheriff does not return the paperwork to the court.  The court will order that the process start over. There is no charge to the filer.  A new court date is mailed and we’ll notify via status updates to your portal.

Rent is the monthly or weekly contract rent in the lease signed by both parties. Some jurisdictions allow other expenses (water, environmental fines, utility) to be charged as “additional rent” if your lease specifically states it as “additional rent.” We recommend that the landlord have the tenant initial that section in the lease.

Rent Escrow occurs if the tenant requests to pay the court rent instead of the landlord because of claims that there are significant repair issues that involve a threat to life, health or safety. An inspection is done to the property by a city inspector to verify or dismiss such claims. Then there is a hearing to hear the case. The court holds the money in Escrow until the repairs are made and verified by the inspector.  The funds (minus possible concessions made to the tenant) are released to the landlord.

Warrant of Restitution (WOR) is referred to as an Eviction Notice, also sometimes referred to as a Put-Out Notice. This is second document filed with the court in the eviction process.  It can be filed five (5) days after the FTPR case hearing assuming it was judgement in favor of the landlord. If not filed within 60 days, the case will be restarted.

 

*Disclaimer*

We are not attorneys and are not offering legal definitions. As a Maryland landlord, it is your responsibility to know Landlord-Tenant Law. Consult your attorney if you have any legal questions.

Many terms above are universal across jurisdictions; however, these terms are written specific to Maryland. The aim is to clarify understanding and write them simply for your understanding in the context of Eviction Proceedings and Rent Court.