County Leaders: State Needs To Prevent Eviction Wave

Multiple county leaders joined to urge Governor Hogan to take action, under his emergency powers, to stave off tenant evictions in the months ahead.

A May 6 letter from county leaders urges Governor Hogan to take steps to prevent an unmanageable series of evictions that could arise under current law, as specific protections in the courts recede. In the weeks ahead, with anticipated receipt of federal ARPA funds, many jurisdictions would have the time to consider rental assistance programs, that may come with non-eviction rider agreements.

From the letter, more context on the request:

We commend you for the action you took last year, instituting an order allowing tenants to present COVID-related loss of income as an affirmative defense to eviction judgements. Especially while the courts remained closed due to health and safety concerns, this order kept many people in their homes. Now that courts are reopened, however, the State and CDC orders are not stopping many evictions because they are not all-encompassing and require renters to attend court hearings and provide documentation of income loss. In this challenging time, many people fail to attend hearings for a number of reasons, including COVID-related health concerns and inability to take time off of work. We need a temporary, targeted moratorium on eviction hearings to allow the State and counties time to launch rental assistance programs, process applications, and distribute funds.

Read the full letter: MACo Eviction Moratorium Letter to Gov Hogan

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties