WBAL reports some Baltimore City landlords are refusing to accept federal eviction prevention funds due to “certain stipulations in the rental assistance contract.” While offering landlords payment in full, rental assistance contracts also include provisions objectionable to certain landlords like agreeing “not to evict a tenant for 90 days.” Tisha Edwards, Director of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success, noted “[t]he 90-day provision is considered critical to the success of the program and to avoid an eviction crisis.”
According to the WBAL article, due to landlords’ refusal of said funds, renters like Kimberly Harrington, a Baltimore City resident, are facing eviction proceedings. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Harrington has “lost three jobs, had issues with unemployment, and now is in jeopardy of losing her home at an apartment complex where she has lived here for 20 years.” Ms. Harrington’s landlord had the following response:
Hendersen-Webb, Inc. recognizes the challenging position that our tenants are facing because they were directly or indirectly affected by COVID. As a Company, we have literally spent thousands of hours contacting and meeting with our tenants to help them obtain rent assistance. It is our intention to continue to aid our tenants. The wording in the Baltimore City Rent Assistance Contract contained ambiguities and conflict, unlike the wording and conditions of other jurisdiction’s contracts.
Director Edwards added the following:
The city is giving by paying the back rent. The tenant is making a commitment to get current and pay their rent and we need the landlords to be a partner in this process and allow the tenant the opportunity to become stable and current on their rent
According to a Baltimore City representative, alternative assistance is available to renters whose landlords refuse federal eviction funds.