Prince George’s Council recently passed rent stabilization legislation. Montgomery Council is considering similar legislation.
Prince George’s County
The Prince George’s Council, during session on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, voted to support CB-007-2023, legislation establishing the Rent Stabilization Act of 2023. The measure temporarily amends the Landlord-Tenant Code to limit landlords’ ability to increase rent for tenants above 3% over a 12-month period.
The bill temporarily stops excessive rent increases and helps residents stay in their homes. Under the measure, a landlord cannot increase rent above 3% for any tenant and cannot issue a notice of rent increase over 3% during the twelve months of the Rent Stabilization Act.
According to the press release:
“I am excited to pass this bill today. This bill is an opportunity for us to say loud and clear that renters matter. For too long the message has been that they don’t. Residents are suffering because of rent increases, and rent stabilization creates stability so renters know that they are not going to wake up and their rent is doubled. We want Prince Georgians to have access to affordable, habitable, and fair housing and this bill gets us to closer to that goal.” – Council Member Krystal Oriadha
“I want to thank Council Member Oriadha for her leadership and compassion. I want to thank her and the other Council Members for demonstrating a true understanding of what many of our residents suffer each and every day. This legislation is extremely important to all of us. We refuse to let any Prince Georgian be priced out of their home, that’s what this is about.” – Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE), will notify license holders of the Landlord-Tenant Code change within 15 days of the measure’s enactment. DHCD and DPIE will also provide additional information related to the requirements, including important dates and deadlines, on their website. DPIE will serve as the enforcement authority, which will include imposing fines for violations. License holders will be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.
New units receiving a use and occupancy permit in the last five years, and affordable housing with Federal, State, or local subsidy units, are exempt from the 3% cap. Additionally, CB-007-2023 excludes affordable housing units with federal, state, or local subsidies and dwelling units that received an occupancy permit in the last five years.
A working group to study permanent rent control in Prince George’s County will be established in tandem with the measure to identify permanent solutions for effectively addressing the rising cost of rent in the County.
County Executive Marc Elrich and County Councilmembers Will Jawando and Kristin Mink, plan to introduce the Housing Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act.
The HOME Act helps keep renters in their homes by preventing rent gouging, reducing displacement, and creating cost predictability for renters and landlords. The Act limits the allowable annual rent increases for units to follow the Voluntary Rent Guidelines (VRG) or 3 percent, whichever is lower. The Act would exempt certain buildings from rent increase requirements, including newly constructed units for ten years and units connected to government programs, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and owner-occupied units. The HOME Act also permits landlords to request a fair return increase, establishes an excise tax on rental units that remain vacant for more than a year, and funds affordable housing acquisitions.
According to the press release:
“Over the last year, we have received reports of rents around Montgomery County increasing in excess of 10 and 15 percent per month – that is not affordable,” said County Executive Elrich. “Ultimately, rent stabilization is about stable homes, stable communities and equity. This bill gives renters protection from unnecessary rent increases awhile ensuring that property owners are able to maintain their property and continue to earn a profit. It is absolutely the right thing to do. I want to thank Councilmember Jawando and Councilmember Mink for sponsoring this legislation. I support this bill, will advocate for its passage, and look forward to signing it into law.”
“With our renting population and income inequality both continuing to increase, this is a common sense measure to provide stability and consistency for everybody, our renters, landlords and developers,” said Councilmember Jawando. “We need more housing and renter protections and can accomplish both. While we’ve made progress, too many renters are facing potential displacement or eviction as a result of exorbitant rent increases.”
“Renters in Montgomery County face enormous uncertainty in their housing costs. Temporary rent stabilization protections expired last August, and the number of evictions scheduled here have increased tenfold since this time last year,” said Councilmember Mink. “We’re now averaging well over 300 evictions scheduled every month, compared to 35 last February. The HOME Act directly addresses this crisis by providing predictability in housing costs for renters, with a cap that’s in line with regional standards as well as long-standing standards set by Montgomery County, all while ensuring landlords maintain fair returns on their investments.”
Read the Prince George’s Press Release.
Read the Montgomery Press Release.
Read more about MACo’s 2022 Housing Symposium.