During Maryland rent moratorium, more landlords using legal ‘loophole’ as means to evict

December 31, 2020

In tenant holding over court, a landlord can take action against a tenant whose lease has expired, without having to provide a codified reason for not extending or renewing the lease. This legal route has become particularly popular in 2020: In August and September alone, 233 tenant holding over cases were filed in Baltimore district court, an 82% increase in activity from the same two-month period a year before, according to a Baltimore Sun data analysis.

Tenant advocates and legal experts said the recourse functions as a loophole for landlords seeking to evict during the public health crisis, which has entered a new phase of surging case counts, hospitalizations and deaths. It underscores the disparate economic outcomes imposed by the forces of the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted low and middle-class workers — especially Black women with children, who are more likely to be behind on rent payments than any other group, according to a study published Dec. 16 by the National Women’s Law Center.

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