Court records show judges awarded damages to tenants in fewer

landlords win in Baltimore’s rent court

alisi Ross thought it was the right rental.

canada goose coats on sale The 26 year old Baltimore man liked the look and feel of the two story rowhouse in the 1200 block of Ashburton St. It was convenient to his classes at Coppin State University. Best of all: the landlord, Waz Properties, allowed dogs. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose black friday sale But his biggest problem was that city housing inspectors had deemed the property unfit for human habitation. Officials had withdrawn the permit that allowed the landlord to rent it. canada goose black friday sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap It was the kind of case that Baltimore leaders had in uk canada goose outlet mind 70 years Canada Goose Coats On Sale ago when they created the nation’s first housing court. Appalled by the slum conditions spreading in the then growing city, they envisioned a tribunal that would hold landlords accountable for violating newly enacted Canada Goose Jackets safety buy canada goose jacket codes. buy canada goose jacket cheap

Canada Goose online In time, state lawmakers added a new tool intended to compel property owners to address problems. With the approval cheap Canada Goose of a judge, a tenant in a troubled property canada goose coats on sale may withhold monthly rent payments until the landlord makes repairs. The tenant pays the money instead into an escrow canada goose black friday sale account controlled by the court. Canada Goose online

canada goose clearance sale If the problems are resolved in a timely fashion, the judge may release the money to the landlord. If not, the judge may award some or all of the money canada goose back to the tenant. canada goose clearance sale

Canada Goose Jackets The system was supposed to foster safer, cleaner, better housing in Baltimore. Canada Goose Jackets

cheap Canada Goose In Ross’ case, for example, Baltimore District Judge Katie Murphy O’Hara declined to sanction Waz Properties for renting an uninhabitable property. Instead, she asked Ross why he moved into it in the first place, canada goose factory sale and then canada goose clearance waited two months to file a complaint. cheap Canada Goose

She ordered Waz to repay Ross just half of his security deposit $525 and none of his rent. canada goose coats Then she gave Ross two weeks to move out.

Canada Goose Parka “I still haven’t gotten my $525,” Ross said this month. “What’s going to happen to the landlord? What type of repercussions is he going to get?” Canada Goose Parka

Hundreds of city tenants turn to rent escrow court for help resolving disputes each year. Their complaints trigger a process: A city housing inspector visits the property, reviews the claims and reports back to the court. The judge may then open the escrow account.

Halisi Ross, 27, at his current home on North Warwick Avenue. From October 2016 until February, he rented an apartment on nearby Ashburton Street owned by Waz Investments. image source Before he moved in, the apartment had been deemed uninhabitable by the city, making it illegal to rent.

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canadian goose jacket Judges diverted rent payments into escrow accounts less than half as often as they could have, based on inspectors’ findings. Inspectors reported threats to life, health and safety in Canada Goose online 1,427 cases, court records canada goose uk black friday show, but judges established accounts in just canada goose clearance sale 702 of them. canadian goose jacket

canada goose store Even when accounts were established, judges returned most of the money to landlords when the cases ended. In cases in which inspectors found homes to be illegal or unfit for habitation, judges ultimately awarded 89 percent of the escrow money to the landlords. canada goose store

Judges reduced or waived rent in just 344 cases, or 6 percent of all complaints. Tenants filed 145 complaints against the agency, which manages 9,134 units.

buy canada goose jacket In court, the outcomes tenants encountered most often were delays and dismissals. When complaints did proceed, judges routinely gave landlords more than three times longer to make repairs than the 30 canadian goose jacket days the Canada Goose sale law deems “reasonable.” buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose sale Judges routinely require tenants to pay all back rent landlords say is due before their complaints are heard. They do not typically require the landlords to show that they provided Canada Goose Outlet a habitable home the legal basis for charging rent. Canada Goose sale

canada goose Tenants are required to hire attorneys or law students to represent them in court, or else represent themselves. Landlords may be represented by agents who are not attorneys. canada goose

Judges rapidly accepted landlord allegations of unpaid rent that trigger the eviction process, the most serious penalty that tenants can face. Yet they seldom imposed uk canada goose one of the most serious penalties against landlords who violate their legal obligations to provide livable homes: cash damages. Court records show judges awarded damages to tenants in fewer than 20 canada goose uk shop cases less than one half of 1 percent of all cases.

canada goose coats About this seriesSun Investigates team members Doug Donovan and Jean Marbella spent a year examining Baltimore’s court system for landlord tenant disputes. They spent dozens of hours canada goose outlet sale observing court proceedings and touring tenants’ homes, interviewed dozens of tenants, landlords, officials, and analysts, and reviewed thousands of pages of court filings and other documents. canada goose store The Baltimore Sun’s work was supported by a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network canada goose coats.

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