When a landlord files an eviction case, they are asking the court to issue an order that authorizes them to regain possession of a property from a tenant who has violated the terms of their lease agreement or has failed to pay rent. The court order is known as a warrant of restitution. The warrant gives the landlord the legal right to have law enforcement officials remove the tenant from the property to regain possession.
At the time of execution of the warrant of restitution, any property of the tenant’s that the tenant leaves is considered abandoned and may be disposed of by the landlord. Abandoned property removed from a property under a warrant of restitution is known as “eviction chattels.”
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A
Topics on this page:
- Required Notice
- Delay of Eviction if Proper Notice Not Given
- Disposal of Tenant’s Possessions
When a court issues a judgment in favor of a landlord, they must provide notice to the tenant. The notice must:
- Include the court case number in which the warrant of restitution was issued
- Include the tenant’s name and the address of the leased property;
- Specify the date on which the eviction is scheduled to be executed;
- Indicate that the eviction will be executed on that date unless:
- The tenant moves out and returns control of the property to the landlord; or
- The tenant exercises the right to redemption under Md. Code, Real Property, § 8-401(e), unless this right is inapplicable.
- Warn the tenant that any property left in the leased dwelling will be considered abandoned and may be disposed of on execution of the warrant of restitution; and
- Indicate that it is the final notice of the date of the eviction, even if the Sheriff or the court postpones the eviction date.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-2(d)
To fulfill the notice requirement, a landlord must:
- Mail a copy of the notice to the tenant, both by certified mail and by first-class mail with certificate of mailing. The notice must be mailed at least 14 days before the first scheduled date of execution; and
- Post a copy of the notice on the premises. Notice must be posted at least 7 days before the first scheduled date of execution.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-2(c)
NOTE: A landlord may charge the tenant for expenses incurred in providing this notice, up to a maximum of $5
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-2(e)
Delay of Eviction if Proper Notice Not Given
Execution of a warrant of restitution can be delayed, or the warrant can be vacated (canceled) if it is determined that the landlord did not meet the notification requirements. If the Sheriff designated to execute the warrant reasonably believes the landlord did not provide the required notice, the Sheriff cannot execute the warrant until ordered by the Court to do so. If the Court finds that the landlord did not provide the required notice, the Court will vacate the warrant.
A tenant is presumed to have been properly notified if the landlord provides copies of the notice, certified mail receipt, certificate of mailing, and a signed affidavit by the person who posted the notice on the property. The copies must all be dated to show evidence that notice was made within the time periods specified in the law.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-3
Disposal of Tenant’s Possessions
When a Sheriff executes a warrant of restitution, any property that the tenant leaves is considered abandoned and may be disposed of by the landlord.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-4
The landlord must dispose of abandoned property by one of the following methods :
- Transporting them to a licensed landfill or solid waste facility;
- Donating them to charity; or
- Some other legal means.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-5(a)
The landlord, and anyone working on their behalf, is not liable for any loss or damage to property deemed to be abandoned.
Landlords who dispose of an evicted tenant’s possessions at a City-owned or operated landfill or solid waste facility will be charged a discounted rate that is no more than the same fees charged to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (Section 8A-5(b)(1)). To be eligible for Housing Authority rates, the landlord or landlord’s agent must present:
- a copy of the warrant of restitution issued for the leased dwelling and
- proof that the leased dwelling is registered or licensed
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-5(b)
Under no circumstances may a landlord place a tenant’s possessions on the street or sidewalk.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-6
Any person who violates any provision of this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues is a separate offense.
Read the Law: Baltimore City Code, Article 13, Section 8A-9