Current with effective changes from the 2021 Legislative Session through Ch. 131
Section 14-125.2 - Nuisance actions within Harford County(a)(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.(2) "Local code violation" means a violation under the following provisions of the Harford County Code as amended from time to time or under any applicable code relating to the following provisions incorporated in the Harford County Code by reference, or comparable provisions within the codes of the incorporated municipalities of Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, and Bel Air:(i) Chapter 64 - Animals;(ii) Chapter 82 - Building Construction;(iii) Chapter 84 - Buildings, General;(iv) Chapter 109 - Environmental Control;(v) Chapter 157 - Licenses and Permits;(vi) Chapter 162 - Livability Code;(vii) Chapter 173 - Mobile Homes and Trailers; and(viii) Chapter 179 - Nuisances and Public Health.(3) "Nuisance" means: (i) An act or condition created, performed, or maintained on private property that constitutes a local code violation and that:1. Negatively impacts the well-being of other residents; and2.A. Is injurious to public health, safety, or welfare; orB. Obstructs the reasonable use of property;(ii) A property where the tenant, owner, or other occupant has been convicted of violations of § 10-201 or § 10-202 of the Criminal Law Article for conduct occurring on, in, or in relation to the property;(iii) A property to which police or other law enforcement agencies have responded to complaints or calls for service 4 or more times within any 30-day period and that: 1. Negatively impacts the well-being of other residents; and2.A. Is injurious to public health, safety, or welfare; orB. Obstructs the reasonable use of property;(iv) A property where the tenant, owner, or other occupant has been convicted of violations of any criminal law occurring on, in, or in relation to the property and is related to the activities of a criminal organization as defined in § 9-801 of the Criminal Law Article; or(v) A building, structure, dwelling, dwelling unit, or accessory structure that: 1. Contains defects due to inadequate maintenance, obsolescence, or abandonment that increase the hazard of fire, accident, or other calamity; or2. Is unsafe, unsanitary, dangerous, or detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of the community due to lack of maintenance, inadequate ventilation, light, sanitary facilities, or other conditions.(b) This section only applies to a nuisance located within the boundaries of Harford County.(c) An action to abate a nuisance may be brought under this section and § 4-401 of the Courts Article by the State's Attorney for Harford County.(d)(1) The State's Attorney may seek injunctive and other equitable relief in the District Court for abatement of a nuisance upon showing: (i) The notice requirements under paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection have been satisfied; and(ii) The nuisance has not been abated.(2)(i) An action may not be brought under this section based on a nuisance until 60 days after the State's Attorney gives notice of the violation and of the State's Attorney's intent to bring an action under this section by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the applicable local enforcement agency.(ii) An action may not be brought under this section if the applicable code enforcement agency has filed an action for equitable relief from the nuisance.(3)(i) An action may not be brought under this section until 60 days after the tenant, if any, and owner of record receive notice from the State's Attorney that a nuisance exists and that legal action may be taken if the nuisance is not abated.(ii) The notice shall specify:1. The nature of the alleged nuisance;2. The date and time of day the nuisance was first discovered;3. The location on the property where the nuisance is allegedly occurring; and(iii) The notice shall indicate: 1. The nature of the proceedings;2. The time and place of the hearing; and3. The name and telephone number of the person to contact for additional information.(4) In filing a suit under this section, the State's Attorney shall certify to the court: (i) What steps the State's Attorney has taken to satisfy the notice requirements under this subsection; and(ii) That each condition precedent to the filing of an action under this section has been met.(e) A political subdivision of the State or any agency of a political subdivision may not be subject to any action brought under this section or an action resulting from an action brought under this section against a private property owner.(f)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and in addition to or as a component of any remedy ordered under subsection (d) of this section, the court, after a hearing, may order a tenant who knew or should have known of the existence of the nuisance to vacate the property within 72 hours.(2) The court, after a hearing, may grant a judgment of restitution or the possession of rental property to the owner if: (i) The owner and tenant are parties to the action; and(ii) A tenant has failed to obey an order under subsection (d) of this section or paragraph (1) of this subsection.(3) If the court orders restitution or the possession of the property under paragraph (2) of this subsection, the court shall immediately issue its warrant to the sheriff or constable commanding execution of the warrant within 5 days after issuance of the warrant.(4) In addition to or as a part of any injunction, restraining order, or other relief ordered, the court may order the owner of the property to submit for court approval a plan of correction to ensure, to the extent reasonably possible, that the property will not again be used for a nuisance if: (i) The owner is a party to the action; and(ii) The owner knew or should have known of the existence of the nuisance.(5) If an owner fails to comply with an order to abate a nuisance, after a hearing, the court may, in addition to any other relief granted, order that the property be demolished if the property is unfit for habitation and the estimated cost of rehabilitation significantly exceeds the estimated market value of the property after rehabilitation.(g) This section may not be construed to abrogate any equitable or legal right or remedy otherwise available under the law to abate a nuisance.(h) Provisions of this article or public local laws applicable to actions between a landlord and a tenant are not applicable to actions brought against a landlord or a tenant under this section.Amended by 2020 Md. Laws, Ch. 422,Sec. 1, eff. 10/1/2020.