Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Maryland

Yes on June 20th I when I came home from work I noticed a letter on my door on regular computer paper rolled up and placed in the door latch, yet thought nothing of it as the rental property usually informs us of any programs or scheduled maitenance in this same manner. However, when I unrolled the letter I realized that it read "Pre-Eviction Walk Thru Scheduled 6/22/12." I immediately was disturbed by the letter being I have never been late on the rent, let alone not paid it and have caused no disturbances on the property, so I was baffled as to why I would be receiving an eviction notice. The funny thing however is that as I was coming into my complex I noticed several other apartments also had a letter placed in their latch, which if it had been just scheduled maintenance would have been common, but it behoves me that all those other persons also received a pre-eviction notice. The letter reads "Dear Resident: Please be advised, due to your payment rental history we have been granted repossession of your apartment home. On June 22, 2012 we will be entering your apartment home to complete a pre-eviction inspection. You can prevent your eviction by paying all outstanding monies owed, please contact our office immediately to resolve this issue. The only solution to resolve this matter is paying your rent NOW. Payments must be made by Money Orders or Cashier's Check. You must contact Diane Rampersaud, (301) 779-5002 or (301)779-5078 the Regional Property Manager for your community regarding this matter. Respectfully, (signature) Richman Property Services Eviction Department/Collection." While I have the majority of my receipts to prove that I paid my rent and access to those I no longer have, I have never even received a late notice regarding my rent (and should not have, being I have never been late)so I am confused as to why I should have received a pre-eviction notice on my door. Although, I personally have never received an eviction notice I am sure that it is a court ordered document and you should first be summoned to a hearing or receive some documentation requesting late payments before they come walking through you house to evict you. So I called my rental office to ask to speak to Mrs./Ms. Rampersaud as the letter raised many red flags such as 1.) It was not in the typical format of letters sent by management at other times 2.)It was an eviction notice yet it was not addressed specifically to me by name just address (despite I supposedly did not pay my rent) 3.) As the letters are usually signed by whoever in that department is responsible for such tasks, this letter has no printed signature to accompany the signed name, so there is no way to place who actually wrote the letter (it just says Rental Property Services Eviction Department/Collection not for ex. Anita Hill Rental Property Manager Eviction Department/Collection. However, after once going to the actual office and then calling twice Mrs./Ms. Rampersaud has been unavailable. Now to me only one of two things could have occurred as I have always paid my rent on time and have never caused any problems so in turn should have never received an eviction notice, 1.) Being someone went and put out fake eviction notices as a prank or 2.) The owners of the property are looking for a way to get money for whatever reason and is going to see who will actually fear their eviction and send some actual money, some despite even knowing that their rent was paid, which I am sure is illegal (as I have heard similar stories) or trying to get rid of long term tenants for other reasons as well (property flips etc.) However, if it was reason number one the rental office is treating the situation with very little seriousness as I would be very upset regarding any mistreatment of my tenants and address very quickly any situation where my tenants had to suffer fear of eviction at the hands of some pranksters.Even the utter avoidance at the rental office is beyond me, but what do I know I am not a lawyer. What do you think, is this something I should be concerned over?

Asked on 6/22/12, 8:16 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

In order to lawfully evict you the landlord or property manager would have to file an eviction action in the District Court of Maryland and posted it on your door. The eviction could be for nonpayment of rent, or if you are now on a month to month basis after your original lease ran out, it could be based on a 30- or 60-day termination notice that they sent you and that time is up. This would be a court issued document notifying you of a hearing at which you could attend and defend. If you were properly served and didn't appear the court would probably have entered a judgment for possession and you would have received a copy of that in the mail from the court. Then they would have to file a writ of restitution after waiting 10 days and get a court order for the actual eviction. If none of this happened it sounds like a mistake, but you need to get someone's attention in management to get to the bottom of it.

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Answered on 6/22/12, 8:35 am

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