The Copy Cat Building, located at 1501 Guilford Avenue in Baltimore City, is a warehouse in which artists have rented studios and began living in them. During the pandemic, several tenants stopped paying rent. Since the landlord could not evict a non-paying tenant due to the eviction moratorium, the landlord gave the tenant proper 60-day notice to terminate the month-to-month lease. The tenant did not move out at the end of the 60-day notice period and the landlord filed a Tenant Holding Over (THO) case in District Court to evict the tenant. The tenant appealed the District Court’s eviction order on the grounds that the owner did not have a Rental License and therefore could not evict the tenant. The Maryland Court of Appeals issued its ruling on November 29, 2021 stating that the lack of a rental license did not matter once the term of the lease was over since the landlord was not attempting to collect rent, but rather simply trying to repossess his property.
The Maryland Multi Housing Association supported the landlord’s case by filing an amicus brief. This case is seen as a victory for those in the business of providing rental housing in dealing with the problems of tenants refusing to pay rent.
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