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Complaint Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Examiners of Landscape Architects

  1. How do I file a complaint?
  2. How can I determine if an individual landscape architect or firm is properly licensed?
  3. How do I check a landscape architect’s discipline history?
  4. What information do I include with my complaint?
  5. Where do I send the complaint?
  6. What happens after I file a complaint?
  7. I want to file a complaint. Can I remain anonymous throughout the process?
  8. Who can I file a complaint against?
  9. Does the licensee receive a copy of the complaint?
  10. What happens if the licensee does not respond to the complaint?
  11. How long does the complaint process take?
  12. I filed a complaint, but the board did not sanction the accused?
  13. What gives the board authority to preside over my complaint?
  14. Will I be contacted by an investigator or asked to go to court?
  15. The licensee caused me to lose a lot of money; will the board make the licensee repay?
  16. Are complaints a part of the public record?
  17. How do I benefit from filing a complaint?
  18. Can I receive updates on the complaint status?
  19. What types of sanctions are imposed by the board if the complaint is substantiated?
  20. Does the board regulate the activities of a landscaper or property maintenance personnel?

1. How do I file a complaint?
Complaints can be filed by mail or in person at 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Complaint forms are available online (Word), or by visiting the board. You may also call the board at 410-230-6256 or 1-888-218-5925 to request that a complaint form be mailed to you.

2. How can I determine if an individual landscape architect or firm is properly licensed?
Obtaining licensing information on landscape architects can be accomplished on the Maryland Department of Labor website. This link will allow you to check the status of landscape architects as well as other occupations and professions.

3. How do I check a landscape architect’s discipline history?
Anyone may check an architect’s discipline history online or by calling the Maryland Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at the following telephone numbers: 1-888-218-5925 (toll-free) or 410-230-6256 (Baltimore area), or by sending an e-mail.

4. What information do I include with my complaint?
In addition to the specific information requested in the complaint form, you should attach a copy of the following items if pertinent and applicable:

  • Contract (front and back of all pages)
  • Proof of payment to the licensee
  • Any work documents that are pertinent to the case
  • Any e-mails or other correspondence between you and the licensee
  • Pictures or other evidence that you feel support your claim
  • Any other information you feel supports your complaint

Note: If more information is requested you will be contacted by an investigator from our staff.

5. Where do I send the complaint?
You may mail or hand-deliver (Mon-Fri, 8:00-4:00) the signed complaint to:

The Maryland Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects
500 N. Calvert Street
Room 308
Baltimore, MD 21202.

Note: Faxed or e-mailed copies of complaints are not acceptable as they do not have the original signature.

6. What happens after I file a complaint?
After the board receives your complaint, the board staff will review it to ensure that it is complete and filed with the appropriate office. Once the staff determines that the complaint is properly submitted, it will be presented to the board’s complaint committee who will evaluate the evidence and determine the next steps – investigate further, draft charges, request more information, close, etc.

Note: All complaints will be logged into a complaint database in order to track progress and maintain a permanent record of complaints filed against licensees.

7. I want to file a complaint. Can I remain anonymous throughout the process?
Complaints submitted to the board cannot be anonymous. All complaints must be submitted with a signed complaint form.

8. Who can I file a complaint against?
Generally, complaints are limited to licensees, firms, or activities that are regulated by the board.

9. Does the licensee receive a copy of the complaint?
After the complaint is reviewed by board staff members, the licensee is sent a copy of the complaint along with a Notice of Complaint/Order to Respond. This document notifies the licensee or offender of the complaint and requests a written response to the complaint within 30 days. In addition to responding to the specific allegations contained in the complaint, the respondent is permitted to provide a copy of all relevant documents in their defense. The complainant also receives a notification that the complaint has been initiated and when it is complete. The process is designed to provide for fair treatment of all parties involved.

10. What happens if the Licensee does not respond to the complaint?
If the licensee does not respond to the Notice of Complaint, the board may act using the evidence that is available to them. The board will conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate action whether the licensee responds or not. Multiple methods and attempts will be made to gather all evidence and information required.

11. How long does the complaint process take?
The board’s goal is to resolve complaints in a timely manner. That said, each allegation is unique and may require a myriad of steps before the board can come to an appropriate resolution. The length of time for complaint resolution can be impacted by several situations including the availability of witnesses, the strength of evidence, and other board-related factors.

12. I filed a complaint, but the board did not sanction the accused?
Not all complaints will result in formal sanctions. Many complaints are resolved without charges filed or through administrative actions when deemed appropriate by the board. The decision by the board to take action on the licensee is determined by the severity of the charges, the strength of the evidence, and the type of offense among other factors. Regardless of the outcome, the complainant will be notified of the complaint outcome.

13. What gives the board authority to preside over my complaint?
For specific information regarding the authorities of the Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects please visit our Laws and Regulations page.

The Board exercises its powers, duties, and functions subject to the authority of the Secretary. The Board’s authorities are governed by Title 9 Business Occupations and Professions, Annotated Code of Maryland. Title 9 states:

  (a) To enforce this title, the Board:
    (1) conduct investigations and hold hearings on any matter covered by this title, at any time and place in the State;
    (2) administer oaths;
    (3) examine witnesses; and
    (4) receive evidence.
  (b) Subject to the State budget, the Board may employ an investigative staff to:
    (1) investigate a complaint; and
    (2) perform any other related duty, as assigned by the Board.
    (c) (1) The Board may issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness to testify or the production of evidence in connection with:
      (i) any disciplinary action under § 9-310 of this title; or
      (ii) any proceeding brought for an alleged violation of this title.
    (2) A subpoena shall be signed by the Chairman of the Board and sealed with the seal of the Board.
    (3) If a person fails to comply with a subpoena issued under this subsection, on petition of the Board, a circuit court may compel compliance with the subpoena.
    (d) (1) The Board may sue in the name of the State to enforce any provision of this title by injunction.

14. Will I be contacted by an investigator or asked to go to court?
As complaints are not anonymous you could be involved in the process in several ways. Initially, you can be expected to have an investigator from our office contact you to help develop your complaint. Less likely, but possible, you may be asked or subpoenaed to appear before a board hearing or possibly even a criminal trial. The level of your required involvement is dependent on the specifics of the complaint.

15. The licensee caused me to lose a lot of money; will the board make the licensee repay?
A valid complaint may induce the respondent to “make things right” but the board typically does not have the authority to offer reparations to the complainant. For contractual issues, the complainant may need to seek the advice of private counsel to explore his or her options.

16. Are complaints a part of the public record?
Yes, once the complaint is closed they are subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act.

17. How do I benefit from filing a complaint?
The complaint triggers an investigation, which may not directly benefit the claimant. The purpose of the investigation is for the board to determine if the respondent has violated their obligations as a licensee. The purpose of the board is to safeguard life, health, and property and to promote the public welfare by regulating persons who practice landscape architecture in the state. So even if the complainant does not directly benefit from the actions taken against a specific licensee they do benefit from the increased level of competence achieved by the board’s regulation and enforcement of professional conduct.

18. Can I receive updates on the complaint status?
The complainant or respondent may inquire about the status of a complaint by contacting the board staff.

19. What types of sanctions are imposed by the board if the complaint is substantiated?
Sanctions are derived from statutes and regulations and can range from a warning or reprimand to fines and suspension or loss of licensure. The board does not impose criminal sanctions but may refer charges to the State’s Attorney when warranted. Information on sanctions that may be imposed by the board can be found in the Code of Maryland 9-310.

20. Does the board regulate the activities of a landscaper or property maintenance personnel?
No, landscapers and landscape architects are different occupations, regulated by separate departments. Title 9, Business Occupations and Professions, Annotated Code of Maryland specifically states, “This title does not limit the right of a nurseryman, general contractor, or landscape contractor to design, plan, locate, plant, or arrange plantings or other ornamental features.”

Complaints and licensing information for landscapers may fall under the purview of one or more state entity such as the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

For more help visit MHIC’s licensing FAQs.