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Maryland Eviction Court Cases Are Growing Every Year

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New data from the District Court of Maryland and Department of Legislative Services shows that landlord-tenant court cases in Maryland have been on a gradual upward trend since 2005. The vast majority of those are eviction cases for failure to pay rent.

There have been fewer landlord-tenant court cases in 2020 because of eviction moratoria during the pandemic. But before the pandemic began, cases were increasing across the state. 

Between July 2019 and February 2020 there were 58,570 landlord-tenant court cases filed per month, according to the data, an increase from the previous year. 

Alice Kennedy, Baltimore City’s acting housing commissioner, said the year to year increase in eviction cases is due to higher housing costs. 

“When income levels remain stagnant but housing costs increase and rent increases, then you're going to end up having a more significant number of families that are housing insecure and housing burdened,” she said. 

Households are considered cost burdened if they are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Kennedy said the majority of Baltimore City renters are burdened. 

“Over 55% of our renters are housing burdened and paying more than 30% of their income on housing,” Kennedy said. 

The Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium took effect last week. But housing advocates still warn there may still be a mass eviction crisis when the moratorium expires. 

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.
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