(Annotated Code of Maryland, Real Property Article, Section 8-211)
If serious defects affecting life, health, or safety exist at a leased premises, a tenant may file a Petition in Action for Rent Escrow in the District Court. The petition requests that the court establish an escrow account and hold the rent monies until the landlord completes all repairs Ordered by the court. The tenant must demonstrate at trial that he gave the landlord written notice of the dangerous conditions and that the landlord failed to make all necessary repairs. A court inspector typically inspects the leased premises and issues a report of his findings. The court will order the landlord to repair all serious defects and may abate rent depending on the nature of the defective conditions and on the landlord’s actions.
Landlord's Rent Escrow Defenses:
- The landlord did not receive notice of the defects from the tenant.
- The defects are not a serious threat to life health, or safety of the tenant.
- The tenant caused the defects or did not give the landlord access to the premises for repairs.
- The defects have been repaired.
- A certain number of rent judgments have been previously entered against the tenant.
Affirmative Rent Escrow
A Tenant may file an affirmative Rent Escrow Petition without regard to whether there is any rent owed at the time of the filing.
Defensive Rent Escrow
During a Failure to Pay Rent trial a tenant may raise a claim that a dangerous condition exists at the leased premises. In such a case, the court may order an inspection of the premises and postpone the cases until the inspection is completed. If the court allows the escrow claim, the Failure to Pay Rent case will not be heard until the escrow case is dismissed.
To learn more about rent escrow cases in Maryland, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with our Baltimore landlord-tenant attorney, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Maher P.C. today.