Money Judgments from Breach of Lease

Money Judgments Resulting from Breach of a Residential Lease between Landlord and Tenant

Ben-Davies v. Blibaum & Assocs., P.A., 457 Md. 228, 177 A.3d 681 (2018)

In a lengthy opinion, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that, where landlord sues tenant for breach of contract based on residential lease, and the trial court enters judgment in landlord’s favor against tenant that includes damages for unpaid rent and other expenses, a post-judgment interest rate of 6% applies pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. (1974, 2013 Repl. Vol.) 11-107(b).

The case arrived at the Court of Appeals with amicus briefs filed on behalf of the Appellant tenant by Civil Justice, Inc., the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and the Public Justice Center. At issue was a residential apartment lease which had ended after the residence was prematurely vacated. The landlord’s representative sued the tenant in contract for breach of lease. At issue were competing statutory interest rates of 6% and 10% depending on the source of the judgment. Generally, under CJ 11-107(a), except as provided otherwise, a post-judgment interest rate of 10% applies to all judgments. Meanwhile, under CJ 11-107(b), a post-judgment interest rate of 6% applies to money judgment[s] for rent of residential premises[.] As matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals, held that a post-judgment interest rate of 6% applies to judgments that comprise unpaid rent and other expenses that are due under residential leases.

Whether landlord or tenant, it is important to know your rights, and it is important that you consult a Maryland landlord attorney or Maryland tenant attorney. In formulating its opinion, the Court provided the following table which highlighted the various causes of action available to a landlord depending on the circumstances of the situation. The table provides a useful tool for landlords to assess their rights:

pjd Table

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