BALTIMORE (AP) — It seems like a fairly straightforward question: What is rent?
But judges across Maryland who preside over eviction requests are struggling with the answer.
For decades, landlords in Maryland have been able to file failure-to-pay-rent actions that threaten eviction not just for delinquent rent, but also for overdue water bills, utilities and other expenses.
But an opinion by the state’s highest court this year is upending that tradition by doing what Maryland’s real estate statute does not: defining “rent.”
The state Court of Appeals concluded that rent “denotes the periodic charge for use or occupancy of the premises, but not the various other payments that the tenant may owe to the landlord from time to time, even if the lease characterizes them as ‘deemed rent’ or ‘additional rent.'”