New Tenant Protections Take Effect in Baltimore

Young African American woman rests elbow on moving boxesThe “Just Cause” tenant protection bill has gone into effect in Baltimore City. The new bill was written to protect tenants from eviction through non-renewal of their leases. It was proposed by City Councilman Tony Glover in January in an effort to prevent a housing crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, he said:

When I learned that landlords found a loophole in the eviction moratorium and were kicking tenants behind on their rent out of their homes when their leases expired, I stepped up alongside housing advocates to formulate a plan to protect them.

The new law requires landlords to renew a tenant’s lease except in specific circumstances, including:

  1. A “substantial” violation of the lease
  2. The property is being recovered as a permanent residence for a family member of the landlord
  3. The property is being permanently removed from the rental market
  4. The landlord needs to conduct repairs that cannot take placed in an occupied property

Other portions of the bill address rent changes and changes to terms of the lease, as well as notification periods for non-renewal.

The bill was passed without signature by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s signature. In a letter to the City Council, Scott said:

There are doubts about the City’s authority to implement and enforce this bill’s provisions locally due to the significant state law governing this subject.

Additional information about the “Just Cause” tenant protection bill is available via the Baltimore Sun.

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