Evict or not to evict: What to do if a Tenant hasn’t paid rent in a while?

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Being an active rental property landlord in Baltimore’s Bay area isn’t what people usually think it is. It definitely isn’t just about checking your bank account each month to see your rental income roll in. Sure, there are weeks – perhaps, even months! – when those payments come in regularly. And, when they stop? Can you evict your tenant because they haven’t paid?

Most experienced providers of property management in Baltimore will tell you: Not always!

Responsibilities for Cash Flow

The law is very clear about your responsibilities as a landlord. The tenant has a duty to pay rent, and you have the responsibility to provide value for money. You can’t serve an eviction notice simply because the tenant hasn’t paid – even though that’s your right, but only under specific conditions. Specifically, where things get complicated is around your responsibilities to provide a safe and healthy environment for your tenants. You can not expect a tenant to continue paying rent if the living conditions are dangerous and unsafe.

Title 8 of Maryland’s Landlord and Tenant Act (8-211-211.1) categorically state what conditions classify as dangerous and unsafe:

As a landlord, you signed up not only to collect (and enjoy) regular rent, but to also ensure your property meets all the standards of living specified by the law. And, unfortunately, most novice property owners aren’t equipped with the skills and knowhow to make those determinations. It often takes specialists in Bay property management in Baltimore to assess quickly when the property may cross the threshold of danger and become a health hazard.

Leaving your property unattended, uninspected or without regular repair and maintenance, not only puts your investment in jeopardy – but it can also put an end to your regular cash flow that you receive as rental income. More seriously though, failure to discharge your responsibilities could get you into serious trouble with the law.

Brace Yourself…This May Cost You!

For many rental property owners in the Bay area, dealing with such nuances and legal issues isn’t what they want to do on a day-to-day basis. However, as any seasoned service provider of Bay property management in Baltimore will tell you, abdicating that responsibility isn’t an option. You probably invested in rental property because of the prospect of receiving a steady stream of rental income. Unless you tackle the issues discussed earlier, it can cost you that income – it’s regular flow may be in jeopardy.

Eviction isn’t always the answer either!

Most novice rental property owners might point to Title 8 and assume tenants can’t stop paying rent for fear of eviction. And they would be correct. Under the circumstances discussed above, tenants don’t have the right to stop paying rent. However, they don’t have to pay it to you!

Under specific conditions, the law allows them to deposit rent, owed to you, into an escrow account established at the local District Court. If that happens, you can’t access that money until the courts grant you such access. If you consult an expert in professional property management in Baltimore, they can advise you of a proper course of action to resume collecting rent again – but it isn’t as simple as going to the court and requesting your money!