Tenant/Landlord Under Covid-19
For updates on eviction proceedings in Maryland visit:
To find out if you are living in a property covered under the federal eviction moratorium visit the websites below and search your address.
"Evictions in Maryland are only permitted with a court order (Writ of Possession) and must be overseen by the local sheriff's office after a judgment for possession is awarded to the landlord by a judge. Landlords may not change the locks, remove personal belongings, terminate utility services, or otherwise engage in “self-help” efforts as an alternative means for evicting tenants from a property outside the court process.
If tenants face unlawful eviction efforts, receive notice of an eviction case, or are facing other issues related to their tenancy they should seek representation from their local Legal Aid office or another legal services provider. Tenants may have specific rights, protections, and defenses that an attorney can assert for them. Some funding may be available for certain tenants to help catch up on missed rent payments. For information about possible sources of funding to help prevent an eviction check out the 211MD website. "
If you are in need of assistance with landlord/tenant matters the following programs may be able to assist you.
"Quoted language from the Director of Consumer Assistance at the Maryland Office of People's Counsel"
There are many organizations that have been working to create materials to help renters understand their rights during the National CDC Housing Moratorium. Listed below are just some of the organizations who are putting out information.
-The Public Justice Center created a FAQ section on their website with some helpful information about the CDC Eviction Order as it applies to MD. The CDC Eviction Moratorium is set to expire on June 30, 2021.
-The National Low-Income Housing Coalition Created a renter’s FAQs which is applicable nationally. They also have translated the Declaration Form into several languages: Arabic, Mandarin, English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Foreclosures: The Maryland Department of Labor’s (DLLR) Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation announced the extension of the moratorium on new residential foreclosures through June 30, 2021. Homeowners who are facing foreclosure or at risk of defaulting on their mortgage should contact the company where they send their monthly payments to request assistance. Companies are offering loan forbearance and other temporary payment relief to homeowners who are experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners can also call the Maryland HOPE hotline at 1-877-462-7555 for a referral to a nonprofit housing advocate. Additional information and resources about mortgage relief and foreclosure prevention can be found by visiting the DLLR department’s website.
There may be financial assistance resources available for rental assistance. For information about financial assistance throughout the state, contact 211MD by dialing 2-1-1 or by visiting them online at www.211md.org.
Free brief legal consultations for homeowners facing foreclosure are offered virtually by Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services. This clinic will take place July 28, 3-6PM. Contact Aja Mallory at 443-451-4079 to register.
What are Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs)? The American Rescue Plan Act provided $5 billion dollars for rental assistance in the form of Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) that will be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through local public housing agencies (PHAs). HUD estimates that there will be about 70,000 EHVs over the course of the program. HUD published a list of PHAs that have been awarded the EHVs. These PHAs have until May 24, 2021 to decide whether to take all, some, or none of the EHVs.
Read here to find out more.
Utility Moratorium: The Public Service Commission has ordered a hold on all gas/electric service terminations until June 30, 2021 for the following two groups ONLY:
1) Any customer with a signed medical certification on file with the utility.
2) Any customer who has received or been qualified to receive Office of Home Energy assistance since February 15, 2017.
Possible Utility Bill Arrearage Forgiveness: Governor Hogan signed the Maryland RELIEF ACT into law February 15, 2021. The RELIEF ACT will provide up to $83 million to help pay utility customer arrearages. The funds will be targeted at eliminating arrearages for the following three groups of people in this order:
1) households who have qualified for Office of Home Energy Programs benefits in the past 4 years;
2) residential special needs customers; and
3) those with the oldest arrearages.
The Public Service Commission will decide exactly how to allocate the funds. No decisions have been made about who will receive funding, how much they might receive, or when these funds will be distributed. If you fall into one of these three categories there is no guarantee that you will receive funding to eliminate your utility arrearages.
The Critical Medical Needs Program (CMNP), passed into law in 2019, expedites energy assistance to continue or restore utility services for customers who are medically vulnerable. This Program can be beneficial for clients who are seriously ill or rely on electricity for life-support equipment, and face loss of essential utility service. If you would like to be notified of further updates on this Program, please send an email to OPC at DLInfo_OPC@maryland.gov.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bill there may be resources available to help.
-Check out a video on how to keep your power on even when you are facing high utility bills.
-All utilities are offering 12 month payment plans with no down payment required. Contact your utility for more information.
-Call 2-1-1 for information about other financial assistance resources in your community.
Beware of scammers: Maryland utility providers such as BGE and PEPCO have reported an uptick in fraud. Scammers are calling demanding an immediate payment to keep the utilities on. The providers have advised they will never ask customers to purchase prepaid debit cards or make digital transfers through Venmo/Cash App/etc to avoid service disconnection. They will never ask customers for information they already have on file such as your full social security number or other identifying information that could be used for identity theft. If you are unsure if the call is from your utility provider, trust your instincts.
Families with Children Experiencing Homelessness:
For children who are experiencing homelessness there may be extra supports available through their school system. Homelessness can be defined as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (ex: being doubled up, transient, living in motels/hotels/emergency shelters). Families are encouraged to reach out to their local Homeless Education Coordinator/Liaison who may be able to offer support.
On nights when the temperature reaches freezing (32 degrees and below), please call the City's Coordinated Entry line at 443-984-9540 between 9:30 am-9:00 pm to be connected to winter shelter and transportation. People seeking shelter after 9 PM should contact service providers directly. Families with children under the age of 18 can access shelter by calling 443-717-2923 or 443-717-2896.
As of Febuary 18th 2021, The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) and the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) have partnered to secure state-issued identification cards for individuals experiencing homelessness – a critical step in MOHS clients becoming “document ready” to receive housing through city housing programs. To learn more, click here or call 211 or 443-984-9540.