About Statutes

This page accesses the Code of Maryland (Statutes) and the Maryland Municipal Charters and Resolutions as compiled and maintained by the Department of Legislative Services.

The Code is arranged by and organized into “Articles” (e.g. Transportation Article), which are further subdivided into “titles”, “subtitles”, “sections”, “subsections”, “paragraphs”, subparagraphs”, etc.

Note that the “official” compilation of the laws (Chapters) enacted at each session of the General Assembly is published by the State as the “Laws of Maryland”, commonly referred to as the “Session Laws”. The Session Laws for each session are compiled chronologically by chapter number and serve as the source law from which the statutes accessed here are derived.

While the “Laws of Maryland” (Session Laws) constitute the official laws of the State, this Code and the annotated versions noted below are accepted as “evidence” of the law in all State courts and by all public offices and officials (See § 10-201 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article). However, in the event of a conflict between the Code and the Session Laws, the Session Laws prevail.

Note: Annotated versions of the Code, published by LexisNexis and West, are available in book and online formats. These Annotated Codes include references to case law, related citations, and explanatory notations.

The Municipal Charters are updated each year by incorporating all charter resolutions received by the Department through May 31 of that year. Individual Municipal Resolutions are published to the General Assembly website as they are received by the Department.

Statute Text

Article - Real Property
(a)   In this section, “wrongful detainer” means to hold possession of real property without the right of possession.
(b)   This section does not apply if:
(1)   The person in actual possession of the property has been granted possession under a court order;
(2)   A remedy is available under Title 8 of this article; or
(3)   Any other exclusive means to recover possession is provided by statute or rule.
(c)   A person may not hold possession of property unless the person is entitled to possession of the property under the law.
(d)    (1)   If a person violates subsection (c) of this section, a person claiming possession may make complaint in writing to the District Court of the county in which the property is located.
(2)   On receipt of a complaint under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court shall summons immediately the person in possession to appear before the court on the day specified in the summons to show cause, if any, why restitution of the possession of the property to the person filing the complaint should not be made.
(3)   If, for any reason, the person in actual possession cannot be found, the person authorized to serve process by the Maryland Rules shall affix an attested copy of the summons conspicuously on the property.
(4)   If notice of the summons is sent to the person in possession by first–class mail, the affixing of the summons in accordance with paragraph (3) of this subsection shall constitute sufficient service to support restitution of possession.
(e)   A counterclaim or cross–claim may not be filed in an action brought under this section.
(f)    (1)   If the court determines that the complainant is legally entitled to possession, the court shall:
(i)   Give judgment for restitution of the possession of the property to the complainant; and
(ii)   Issue its warrant to the sheriff or constable commanding the sheriff or constable to deliver possession to the complainant.
(2)   The court may also give judgment in favor of the complainant for damages due to the wrongful detainer and for court costs and attorney fees if:
(i)   The complainant claimed damages in the complaint; and
(ii)   The court finds that:
1.   The person in actual possession was personally served with the summons; or
2.   There was service of process or submission to the jurisdiction of the court as would support a judgment in contract or tort.
(3)   A person in actual possession who is not personally served with a summons is not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the District Court if the person appears in response to the summons and prior to the time that evidence is taken by the court and asserts that the appearance is only for the purpose of defending an in rem action.
(g)    (1)   Not later than 10 days from the entry of the judgment of the District Court, either party may appeal to the circuit court for the county in which the property is located.
(2)   The person in actual possession of the property may retain possession until the determination of the appeal if the person:
(i)   Files with the court an affidavit that the appeal is not taken for delay; and
(ii)    1.   Files sufficient bond with one or more securities conditioned on diligent prosecution of the appeal; or
2.   Pays to the complainant or into the appellate court:
A.    The fair rental value of the property for the entire period of possession up to the date of judgment;
B.    All court costs in the case;
C.    All losses or damages other than the fair rental value of the property up to the day of judgment that the court determined to be due because of the detention of possession; and
D.    The fair rental value of the property during the pendency of the appeal.
(3)   On application of either party, the court shall set a hearing date for the appeal that is not less than 5 days or more than 15 days after the application for appeal.
(4)   Notice of the order for a hearing shall be served on the parties or the parties’ counsels not less than 5 days before the hearing.
(h)   If the judgment of the circuit court shall be in favor of the person claiming possession, a warrant shall be issued by the court to the sheriff, who shall proceed immediately to execute the warrant.