County, Cities Sued by Landlords Over COVID-19 Rent Increase Bans

Houses in a CircleHoward County, Baltimore City, and Salisbury have been sued by a group of landlords over local laws prohibiting rent increases during the pandemic. 

Each of the jurisdictions has passed local laws prohibiting rent increases or charging of rent fees during the pandemic or for a certain amount of time following it. The group of landlords, who own a couple thousand rental properties across the jurisdictions, argue the laws are unconstitutional.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

This lawsuit is focused on the landlords’ ability to institute rent increases, rather than challenging any of the state’s orders regulating eviction. The plaintiffs are seeking to have the laws overturned, as well as an unspecified payment from the municipalities to make up for rent increases the landlords weren’t able to put in place.

In denying the landlords request for a temporary restraining order against the prohibitions U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher stated:

“These local governments have made a determination that, in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, Marylanders should not have to absorb increases in their rent payments,” she wrote. “That point is critical. Plaintiffs are not deprived of the ability to generate any rental income from their properties, but rather may not increase the rents for the time being.”

The article notes that both sides have entered “preliminary settlement discussions.”

For more information:

Maryland landlords sue Baltimore City, Howard County and Salisbury over COVID-related bans on rent increases (The Baltimore Sun)

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