Baltimore County Council Approves ‘HOME Act’

House and KeyThe Baltimore County Council has approved the ‘HOME Act” which prohibits landlords from engaging in source of income discrimination.

Under the act, landlords cannot refuse to rent to someone solely because of their source of income which includes federal housing vouchers or other public assistance. They are still able to review rental applicants’ criminal history, credit, as well as rental history as part of the vetting process.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

 County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. was required to introduce the bill as part of a 2016 county agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Council approved one amendment to the bill that exempts small landlords from the requirements. The amendment, proposed by Bevins, Quirk and Jones, exempts landlords who own three or fewer properties if those properties have four or fewer units, each. The exemption would not apply to landlords with similar properties who hire a management firm or agent to rent their properties.

From a statement released by County Executive Olszewski following the passage of the bill:

“Today is a major step forward for Baltimore County. I thank the County Council for recognizing that discrimination in any form is wrong, and for working with me in taking this critical step to fulfill our legal and moral obligations. Together we will continue to expand economic opportunity, improve equity and build a better Baltimore County.”

As noted in the article, prior introductions of the bill which has been required to be introduced by the Baltimore County Executive have failed to pass in previous years under the prior administration. The bill narrowly passed with a 4-3 vote.

For more information:

Baltimore County Council approves bill to protect renters using housing vouchers (The Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore County Home Act (Baltimore County)

County Executive Olszewski Issues Statement Following Passage of the HOME Act (Baltimore County)