When you begin searching for tenants for your rental property, it’s important to screen them thoroughly. If you skimp during this process, you could find yourself spending tens of thousands of dollars to compensate for your oversight. Unqualified tenants could cause significant damage to the property and may even stop paying rent altogether.
Today, let’s look at the step-by-step process for evicting a tenant in Baltimore City.
Step 1: Filing the Rent Notice
If a tenant hasn’t paid rent for a particular month, you’re allowed to file a notice in court any time after the fifth of that month. Be sure to adhere to the guidelines of your lease and give the tenant any applicable grace period that’s specified before you file. For example, if your lease says the tenant has a ten-day grace period after the first of the month in which to pay his or her rent, you’ll need to wait until this grace period has passed to file.
The shorter the grace period you write into your lease, the sooner you’ll be able to file a rent notice in court to get the eviction ball rolling.
What is a Rent Notice?
The rent notice sets up a scheduled hearing date for the landlord and tenant to meet in court before the legal professionals who deal with evictions and other tenant-landlord disputes. This hearing date is typically two to three weeks after the rent notice has been filed.
Step 2: The Court Hearing
The next step in the Baltimore City eviction process is the court hearing. At the court hearing, your job as the landlord is to try to obtain something known as the warrant of restitution.
What is a Warrant of Restitution?
The warrant of restitution allows the landlord to take back possession of the property. If you’re successful in winning your court hearing, the judge will allow you to obtain a warrant of restitution, which legally permits you to regain possession of your rental property.
Step 3: Waiting After You’re Granted the Warrant
The sheriff is required to be involved in the eviction process in Baltimore City. Once the judge awards the warrant of restitution, you’ll need to wait for seven to ten business days before you can call the sheriff’s office to schedule the eviction.
Why Do You Have to Wait?
The paperwork has to find its way from the courthouse to the sheriff’s department. This can take several days.
Step 4: Scheduling the Eviction with the Sheriff’s Office
When you call the sheriff’s office, they’ll give you a scheduled eviction date, which will typically be about 30 days or so out from the date on which you call.
What You Need to Know About Scheduling the Eviction
It’s not uncommon for paperwork to move rather slowly from the courthouse to the sheriff’s department. You might need to make several calls before the sheriff’s office schedules the eviction. This can be an incredibly time-consuming process, and it’s one of the reasons our clients rely on the full suite of property management services we offer at Bay Management Group. We take care of these phone calls for you.
Step 5: Dealing with the Details on the Day of the Eviction
On the date of your eviction, the sheriff will typically give you a few-hour timeframe in which he or she will be at the property for eviction. As the landlord, you or a designated appointee will need to be present at the property to meet the sheriff and evict the tenants.
What You Need to Know About Moving Day
Often, the renters won’t be present. If that’s the case, you should have movers on hand to remove their property from your home or apartment unit. Even if the tenants are present, they’ll likely leave behind a lot of stuff that will become your responsibility to haul away. The more items you can remove from the premises while the sheriff is on-site, the easier things will be in the long run.
The Baltimore City Eviction Process from Beginning to End
The entire eviction process can take anywhere from 60 to 75 days, if not longer—a period during which you won’t likely be receiving rent from your tenants. It’s essential to make sure you put the appropriate tenants into the property from the very beginning. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going months and months without the rental income you expect from your investment.
Beyond this, any damage to the property that’s caused after you evict tenants will further eat into your bottom line. You may need to repaint, replace the carpet, repair holes in the walls, and take care of any other unexpected damage you find along the way.
Eliminating the Eviction Process with Proper Tenant Screening
The best way to avoid dealing with evictions is to put the right renters into your property in the first place. With proper screening, you’ll have insight into a tenant’s:
- Employment history
- Credit background
- Prior rental reputation
- Criminal history
The eviction process in Baltimore City, Maryland is known to be difficult for landlords. Given this is a tenant-friendly city, renters have a lot of rights; as a property owner, it’s essential to set yourself up for a successful tenant-landlord relationship from the very beginning. Bay Management Group is the property management firm Baltimore & Philidelphia landlords trust to keep their properties safe and protected in areas like York, Lancaster, Cumberland, Dauphin counties and nearby. We offer a full menu of services, including tenant screening, eviction, and everything in between. Learn more about our property management services today!