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§ 8-208.1. Retaliatory actions due to reporting violations or complaints prohibited

West's Annotated Code of MarylandReal PropertyEffective: October 1, 2014

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Real Property (Refs & Annos)
Title 8. Landlord and Tenant (Refs & Annos)
Subtitle 2. Residential Leases (Refs & Annos)
Effective: October 1, 2014
MD Code, Real Property, § 8-208.1
§ 8-208.1. Retaliatory actions due to reporting violations or complaints prohibited
Retaliatory actions
(a)(1) For any reason listed in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a landlord of any residential property may not:
(i) Bring or threaten to bring an action for possession against a tenant;
(ii) Arbitrarily increase the rent or decrease the services to which a tenant has been entitled; or
(iii) Terminate a periodic tenancy.
(2) A landlord may not take an action that is listed under paragraph (1) of this subsection for any of the following reasons:
(i) Because the tenant or the tenant's agent has provided written or actual notice of a good faith complaint about an alleged violation of the lease, violation of law, or condition on the leased premises that is a substantial threat to the health or safety of occupants to:
1. The landlord; or
2. Any public agency against the landlord;
(ii) Because the tenant or the tenant's agent has:
1. Filed a lawsuit against the landlord; or
2. Testified or participated in a lawsuit involving the landlord; or
(iii) Because the tenant has participated in any tenants' organization.
Retaliatory action used as defense or claim for damages
(b)(1) A landlord's violation of subsection (a) of this section is a “retaliatory action”.
(2) A tenant may raise a retaliatory action of a landlord:
(i) In defense to an action for possession; or
(ii) As an affirmative claim for damages resulting from a retaliatory action of a landlord occurring during a tenancy.
Amount of judgment
(c)(1) If in any proceeding the court finds in favor of the tenant because the landlord engaged in a retaliatory action, the court may enter judgment against the landlord for damages not to exceed the equivalent of 3 months' rent, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.
(2) If in any proceeding the court finds that a tenant's assertion of a retaliatory action was in bad faith or without substantial justification, the court may enter judgment against the tenant for damages not to exceed the equivalent of 3 months' rent, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs.
Conditions required for relief
(d) The relief provided under this section is conditioned on the tenant being current on the rent due and owing to the landlord at the time of the alleged retaliatory action, unless the tenant withholds rent in accordance with the lease, § 8-211 of this subtitle, or a comparable local ordinance.
Time of retaliatory action
(e) An action by a landlord may not be deemed to be retaliatory for purposes of this section if the alleged retaliatory action occurs more than 6 months after a tenant's action that is protected under subsection (a)(2) of this section.
Rights of landlord or tenant to terminate or not renew tenancy
(f) As long as a landlord's termination of a tenancy is not the result of a retaliatory action, nothing in this section may be interpreted to alter the landlord's or the tenant's rights to terminate or not renew a tenancy.
Construction with comparable ordinances
(g) If any county has enacted or enacts an ordinance comparable in subject matter to this section, this section shall supersede the provisions of the ordinance to the extent that the ordinance provides less protection to a tenant.

Credits

Added by Acts 1974, c. 645. Amended by Acts 1975, c. 108; Acts 1975, c. 323; Acts 1980, c. 843, § 1; Acts 1989, c. 5, § 1; Acts 1989, c. 813; Acts 1990, c. 6, § 2; Acts 1996, c. 10, § 1, eff. April 9, 1996; Acts 1998, c. 21, § 1, eff. April 14, 1998; Acts 1999, c. 219, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, c. 649, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1999; Acts 2011, c. 264, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2011; Acts 2011, c. 265, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2011; Acts 2014, c. 556, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2014.
MD Code, Real Property, § 8-208.1, MD REAL PROP § 8-208.1
Current with all legislation from the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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