Part of Civil Justice’s Economic Justice Project is focused on promoting models that will allow private attorneys to provide representation to Maryland tenants on an affordable basis.  While it is always possible to hire a lawyer at an hourly rate to provide representation in a matter against a landlord, that can be an expensive proposition for a tenant. 

Private attorneys may be willing to provide representation without an upfront fee in certain types of cases. These cases normally involve a “fee-shifting” statute that allows the recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees from a landlord in certain types of cases.  There are five main types of cases where Civil Justice’s Economic Justice Program may be able to help a Maryland tenant secure representation without cost to the tenant unless the tenant recovers money.  

1) Illegal Lockout/Illegal Eviction.
If your landlord evicted you or locked you out of a home you were living in without obtaining a court order allowing the landlord to do so, please click here for more details.

2) Security Deposit Disputes.
If your landlord did not return your entire security deposit and did not provide you with a written statement of damages within 45 days after you moved out, please click here for more details.

3) Landlord Shutting Off Power, Heat or Water.
If your landlord purposefully shut off your electricity, heat or water in connection with a dispute about rent or the lease, or in an attempt to force you out of your home, please click here for more details.

4) Landlord Suing For Too Much Money.
If your landlord is suing you for damages to a home that are much more expensive than it should cost, or the landlord is suing you for unpaid rent past the date that your lease ended, please click here for more details.

5) Landlord Obtaining a Judgment Against You Without Proper Service of Process.
If your landlord obtained a default judgment or affidavit judgment against you in a case that you never knew about because you were not properly served, please click here for more details.  
If you live in Maryland and have a case that falls into one of these categories, please call Civil Justice without cost at (410) 706-0174 or fill out our online intake form.  For some cases, Civil Justice will gather documents from you and attempt to place the case with a private landlord/tenant attorney.  

Unfortunately, some areas of common concern for tenants are very difficult to gain representation without paying an hourly rate.  This includes most cases where a landlord is trying to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, or rent escrow cases where the tenant is still living in the property, but the property has some defect.  For more information on representing yourself in such cases, please see the People’s Law Library.