Fee shifting can help restore balance to rent court

The landlords rarely suffer significant consequences for allowing unsafe property conditions, and tenants frequently struggle to navigate the system even when their cases are strong.

Op-Ed (Maryland)

Joseph Mack
Baltimore Sun
October 16, 2017

Tags: Court Debt, Fines and Fees, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Maryland Access to Justice Commission (MDATJC), Civil Justice Inc. (Maryland)


Evictions cause enormous disruption, costing the government money to carry out the eviction and often sending the tenants into a spiral of job-loss and homelessness. Providing fee-shifting to tenants who successfully establish a rent escrow would create a market for private lawyers to help those tenants with good cases, would make it so the cost is borne solely by the bad landlords who violate the law by refusing to repair serious conditions, and would help restore balance to rent court.