Effective October 1, 2010, in the State of Maryland a victim of domestic violence who has obtained a final protective order may terminate a residential lease without penalty. For more information on protective orders, see our August 16, 2009 blog. The tenant is given thirty days to leave the property, and will be responsible for the rent during the thirty day period. This legislation was introduced in an effort to aid victims of domestic violence if a change of housing is necessary. Further, this law creates a rebuttable presumption that the victim has not breached the lease agreement if the landlord attempts to evict the domestic violence victim as a result of the abuser’s behavior. If a tenant does not choose to leave the leased property, they may request that the landlord change the locks. In that event, the tenant will be responsible for the fee.
For more information on domestic violence proceedings contact an experienced Maryland family law attorney.