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Questions Answered by Joseph D. Allen

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Can you clarify this eviction?

I was given a 30 day notice from my landlord ( private owner) on June 5th to pay by July 5th. The landlord was paid all but $400.00 of the balance, but he sent me a letter stating he doesn't want the balance and it's June 24th. He wants us to pay the $400.00 balance and move out by July 24th, when... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Jun 25, 2019

Not clear if the landlord is giving 30 day notice of terminating your (perhaps month-to-month) lease, or attempting to evict you while you have a longer valid lease. If you hold over (stay in) the premises beyond proper termination, the landlord could file a wrongful detainer. Or, if they're... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: I am landlord in maryland. could I evict the tenants and their furnitures if they don't move out at termination date?

the new tenant will move in next day

Joseph D. Allen answered on Jun 6, 2019

"Self-help" evictions are frowned upon in Maryland, and risky for landlords. You do not say whether you have a reasonable belief that the tenants will not move out at termination, but if you do have good reasons to think that (such as because the tenants said as much), you might be able to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Libel & Slander for Maryland on

Q: What does a business have to prove for a defamation case in an online review?

Joseph D. Allen answered on May 21, 2019

This is the general rule:

Four elements must be present for a plaintiff to establish a prima facie case of

defamation, including that: “(1) . . . the defendant made a defamatory statement to a third

person, (2) . . . the statement was false, (3) . . . the defendant was...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Maryland on

Q: This is regarding a federal agency being hacked.

I am a consultant for a legal firm representing the complaintive agency in one case against suspect foreign cyber Security Company. I represent the same suspect foreign cybersecurity company in a case against the U.S. cybersecurity company. Can I legally represent both companies? If Not what laws... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on May 16, 2019

Criminal liability in a situation like this might result from defrauding one of the parties- e.g. obtaining something of value (your fees) from them under false pretenses (perhaps that you are not using the confidential info obtained from them in one matter against them in the other matter).... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on

Q: Company losing contract but new company wants me to come work for them. Non solicitation for employees and customers

Restricted period is 1 year and includes prior contracts. Non solicitation references not providing similar services to the business. Can I go work for them? It's almost like being black mailed to only work for my current company.

Joseph D. Allen answered on May 9, 2019

You'd need an attorney to review the non-solicitation clause in the context of the entire agreement, to see if it is enforceable or applies to your planned new job. Your question sounds like it could possibly implicate a non-compete clause rather than non-solicitation.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: My landlord is terminating my lease 2 months early because she is getting new flooring in the apartment. Is this legal?

Joseph D. Allen answered on May 6, 2019

Typically, unless you have language in your lease that specifically allows for early termination under these circumstances, the landlord is required to lease the premises for the term that you agreed on.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation for Maryland on

Q: I have been pursued by a crazy lady that lost 6 cases against me and now filed at Circuit Court.

This lady has been following my family, filed false police report, false assault charges, illegally videotaped my husband at our community...lost 6 cases against me and my husband at District Court and blow filed abuse of process at the Circuit court and asking 40,000$ in damages which is just... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on May 6, 2019

It is unclear from your question what the basis for the "abuse of process" claim is, but it is clear that this is a dispute with many complications, which may entail a lot of time spent by an attorney. You should contact civil litigation attorneys until you find one who is willing to listen to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on

Q: I need to sign a contract with an IT staffing Company and I don't understand a clause in it?

Joseph D. Allen answered on Feb 20, 2019

You'd need to ask an attorney to tell you what the clause means. It might be a good idea to have the entire contract reviewed also.

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Q: Is it ethical for an employer to have 1 person who does Human Resources for the entire office inccluding the hiring,

Firing an the disciplinarian, a supervisor to some and the payroll person? I feel it’s very bias but I am not sure if under (Maryland) state law it’s considered legal or ethical? Also, is it ethical or legal for an employer to tell you they are going to deny the a workers conp claim before you... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Feb 20, 2019

There is nothing illegal about only having one HR staff person. If an employer complies with the laws and regulations applicable to it, that's all that matters. It's just difficult to do without professional help, as the workers comp incident illustrates. Employers can't retaliate against... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Does my landlord have the right to tell me what I am allowed to store in my carport?

My landlord is telling me I have to throw things away in my carport. It’s not junky and I store things around the perimeter like bikes, a wood pile for bonfires (he demands this be thrown out), broken down boxes I use for shipping (demands these be thrown out), a grill, and a couple metal storage... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Feb 14, 2019

The first place to look is the lease language regarding the tenant's responsibilities to maintain the premises (and the carport in particular). Sometimes it is vague and ambiguous, so might turn on the reasonableness of the landlord's request vs. the reasonableness of your conduct. Tenants can be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Maryland on

Q: Can I charge a 1.5% per day late fee as long as it doesn’t exceed a total of 10% for the month? It will cut off at 10.

I’m a freelance web designer. My payment and late fee section states payment is due 14 days after invoice date. After that, a 1.5% per day late fee is assessed.

The Client is flexing his retired lawyer muscles and saying I’m violating the law with this request. However, Maryland Code... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Feb 1, 2019

On the surface, I see no reason you couldn't structure your late fee in that manner. But you should clearly say it is capped at 10% per late payment. Or, you could charge the 10% on the 15th day with a discount credited if they paid between 15 and 22 days late. Or, just keep it simple and charge... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights for Maryland on

Q: Would obtaining consent after recording an individual in a public setting with no expectation of privacy be illegalinMD?

I plan on doing a communications study in a local supermarket and I have already obtained permission to sit and observe the communications between a store clerk and the customers in the check-out line. I believe that interrupting the flow of the conversation would be detrimental to the results, and... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Jan 30, 2019

Reasonable expectation of privacy (or the lack thereof) is a concept that is only relevant to non-audio video recording of individuals. It would be safer to ask the customers to provide prior consent after telling them what you intend to use the recordings for- but as you note, this would also... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Can a tenant in Maryland sue a landlord for failure to enforce its lease provisions on other tenants?

Joseph D. Allen answered on Jan 30, 2019

Perhaps, if the failure to enforce deprived you of the "quiet enjoyment" of the premises. The lease language may also provide limitations on your right to sue- such as a written notice to the landlord and a reasonable opportunity to cure the problem (which is also generally the requirement under... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: How soon can I start eviction process for a storefront that I rent to someone when they fail to pay rent?

The tenant for the storefront has not paid their full rent for the month of December to date, and that will mean January's rent may not be paid until February. I want to begin the eviction process

Joseph D. Allen answered on Jan 18, 2019

The answer will depend on the relevant language in the lease. You may want to hire an attorney to review the lease and advise you as to your rights and the process.

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: My Landlord is not returning my security deposit even after 45 days since I moved out . Please advice.

I have rented this unit for 1 year and extended it for another year. I have notified the owner of my moving out and an inspection has been performed on 10/24/2018 and I have handed over the keys on the same day. My lease was to end on 10/31/2018. However my landlord promised that the rent will... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Dec 18, 2018

It doesn't sound like, based on what you say, that the landlord is in compliance with MD law with regard to the retention of your security deposit. Also, if your lease term was to end on 10/31, and you gave enough notice according to the lease of your termination (and it didn't automatically renew... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Landlord will not provide rent receipts for my cash payments, can he say I’d didn’t pay rent and take me to court ?

I have paid all rent ,he is now saying I owe rent because I told him it was probably illegal for him to charge me rent increase through an electric bill ,he lives in the basement and are supposed to help pay for electric ,he had a female friend move in and my electric bill has doubled plus some... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Dec 13, 2018

From what you've said, it does seem that the landlord is violating the lease, and potentially state laws (namely, by taking cash payments without a receipt given and increasing rent without notice). You should probably speak with an attorney- a lot will depend on what your lease says exactly, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Im in Prince Georges County Maryland. My Landlord refuses to honor 2-year Lease by

1) not paying utilities (as stated in Lease)

2) trying to terminate my Lease one month early Jan 31. My Lease states February 28, 2019

Joseph D. Allen answered on Dec 13, 2018

If the lease requires the landlord to pay utilities, then that is what they have to do. It is unlikely that your lease allows the landlord to unilaterally terminate the lease early- so if you don't want to do that, don't agree to early termination. It might be advisable to send the landlord a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Libel & Slander for Maryland on

Q: I recently terminated an employee. That employee has filed false BBB claim and libelous posts to FB. Is this criminal

employee made false claims that I am a "drug popping addict" as I recently underwent major surgery and was taking prescribed medication. She filed BBB claim that I asked her and other employees to come to my house and get me dressed, which is insanity. Can I sue her and/or put her in jail. Also... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Nov 29, 2018

It appears at first blush that the only potentially criminal action here would be the "gunning for [you]" comment- but that is susceptible to various interpretations. The rest is potentially a civil claim for defamation, but those cases are difficult and highly fact-specific. Another thing to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Maryland on

Q: My employer in Montgomery County md is refusing to put in my accrued sick pay while Im on maternity leave. What can I do

I have already spoken to them once about how they’re messing up my finances at home, and they still won’t put in the paid sick leave forms I’ve given them.

Joseph D. Allen answered on Nov 20, 2018

Maryland employers (that have at least 15 employees) are required to offer only unpaid maternity leave, under the Parental Leave Act. However, under the Maryland Flexible Leave Act, those employers must allow employees on unpaid leave to care for a newborn to elect to use their earned/accrued PTO... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on

Q: Per MD, the landlord has 45 days to return the security deposit or itemized list. Is it from end of tenancy or lease?

We moved out prior to the lease contract ending. The statute give 45 days for an itemized list or the landlord forfeits the right to hold the security deposit. The statute specifically notes "end of tenancy" for the 45 day mark. If we went off the end of the lease, the landlord sent it to us on the... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen answered on Nov 19, 2018

Provided that you gave appropriate notice of moving out, the 45 day limit would apply from the end of the tenancy (in this case, the same day as the move-out). However, the landlord being one day late on the list is going to be a pretty weak technical argument. You can try that argument, but you... Read more »

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