1) File a complaint against the tenant in district court. The process for evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent is called summary ejectment. The first step is to file a written complaint in the district court located in the same county as the rental property.
2) The court issues a summons for a trial. At the instruction of the court, the county sheriff sends a summons to the tenant by first-class mail or delivering it in person. Trials are held on the fifth day after the landlord lodges the complaint.
3) The judge rules on whether an eviction is warranted. Both landlord and tenant are allowed to state their cases before a judge. Either party may be represented in court by someone who is not an attorney, but only if the representative is a law student supervised by an in-court faculty member of the law school or is employed by certain nonprofit organizations.
4) If the judge rules the tenant should be evicted, the tenant has 4 days to leave the home with their belongings. If the tenant doesn’t vacate within 4 days, the landlord has 60 days to ask the court for a warrant of restitution. This order instructs the sheriff to appear at the property and allow the landlord to evict the tenants and their belongings.
(Tenants can request additional time to stay at the property. The judge may grant an extension if the tenant produces a signed certificate from a doctor stating that moving within 4 days could harm the tenant’s health or life. Day-to-day extensions also may be granted when extreme weather would affect the eviction. Tenants also have the right to appeal evictions within 4 days of when the warrant of restitution is issued.
“The right of redemption” allows tenants who have been issued a summary ejectment (eviction for nonpayment of rent) if they pay “all past due rent and late fees, plus court-awarded costs and fees at any time before the actual carrying out of the eviction order.” If, within the previous year, there were 3 or more judgments against the tenant for nonpayment, they forfeit their right of redemption.)
A warrant of restitution or writ of possession is generally valid for 60 days from date of issue. The document may be executed anytime within the window. Sheriff’s Office practice is to initiate efforts to contact a landlord or other plaintiff within 7 days of receipt of an eviction in order to schedule a mutually agreeable date and time for displacing the tenant and his/her property. Practice is also to conduct evictions during hours of the court so that anomalies that arise immediately proceeding or incident to an eviction may be addressed.
An eviction is only legal if a deputy sheriff is present, and that officer’s sole responsibility is to keep the peace. A landlord is responsible for providing an adequate number of movers and exercising reasonable care in removing a tenant’s property from a location. Under most circumstances, if a landlord has failed to provide enough movers to conclude an eviction within 2 hours, the eviction will be rescheduled.
A tenant is usually permitted to remain on scene until all property is removed so long as he/she is not hindering the activities. All personal property except that which may pose a public safety threat is to be placed on the curb of the nearest public roadway and once there it is the tenant’s responsibility to safeguard the property. Once the eviction is completed, the removal of any unclaimed or abandoned property becomes the landlord’s responsibility. In accordance with Article 13, Section 1-106 of the Anne Arundel County Code, failure to remove a tenant's evicted property from a County right-of-way within 48 hours will result in removal by the County Department of Public Works. The Department of Public Works may remove and dispose of all personal property that is on county property in violation of existing County Code. The County will bill the owner of the rental real property for all costs incurred in connection with the removal and disposal of the evicted tenant's personal property. Landlord-tenant matters are handled by the Civil Process Unit of the Sheriff’s Office. The preceding is merely an overview of Sheriff’s Office policy and practice. Specific questions or concerns can be fielded by the civil process staff at (410) 222-1189 during normal business hours.