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News Investigations

Sun Investigates: Baltimore's housing court

Sun Investigates team members Doug Donovan and Jean Marbella spent a year examining Baltimore’s court system for landlord-tenant disputes and examining possible solutions for improving the process. They spent dozens of hours observing court proceedings and touring tenants’ homes, interviewed dozens of tenants, landlords, officials, and analysts, and reviewed thousands of pages of court filings and other documents. The Baltimore Sun’s work was supported by a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network. 

PART 1 - Dismissed: Tenants lose, landlords win in Baltimore's rent court

PART 2 - Low-income renters in Baltimore become migrants in their own city

Explore more Sun coverage of Baltimore's housing court below. 

  • Evictions perpetuate Baltimore's cycle of poverty

    Evictions perpetuate Baltimore's cycle of poverty

    Evictions are devastating for the families who go through them. The process is all-consuming. Low-income tenants spend hours going to court to plead their cases or begging family, friends and social service agencies for help. They lose time at work, and an already precarious financial situation...

  • Low-income renters in Baltimore become migrants in their own city

    Low-income renters in Baltimore become migrants in their own city

    When the furnace in their West Baltimore rowhouse broke last winter, Denise and Marvin Jones did what they could to keep their family warm — and together. They filed a complaint against their landlord. They boiled pots of water and ran space heaters. They sent their four children to bed bundled...

  • As a child, Donald Rheubottom feared getting kicked out. Today, he’s the knock at the door.

    As a child, Donald Rheubottom feared getting kicked out. Today, he’s the knock at the door.

    When Donald Rheubottom was growing up in Baltimore, the end of the school day was always terrifying. Even now, decades later, the tough exterior of the Baltimore City deputy sheriff and Army veteran softens as he recalls the anxiety he felt when the final bell rang. Teachers assumed a bully awaited...

  • Eviction prevention efforts in Baltimore lag

    Eviction prevention efforts in Baltimore lag

    The line outside the doors of the Bon Secours Community Works center in West Baltimore forms at 8 a.m. The office won't be open for another 90 minutes, but each month tenants facing eviction arrive early with the paperwork they need to prove they qualify for a $700 grant that could help them avoid...

  • Officials want to end Baltimore rent court disparities

    Officials want to end Baltimore rent court disparities

    City and state officials say tenants in Baltimore's rent court must have better access to lawyers, and that more needs to be done to reduce evictions and improve rental housing. Mayor Catherine E. Pugh said she is exploring ways to support legal services for low-income tenants, who typically fend...

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