Baltimore County Announces Registration and Inspection Processes to Improve Housing Quality

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced new legislation to strengthen rental housing registration and inspections processes to improve housing quality in Baltimore County.

“Every person deserves access to safe, quality place to call home and this legislation is another important step to ensure that is a reality across Baltimore County,” said County Executive Olszewski. “By modernizing our rental registration process, we are strengthening Baltimore County’s ability to make sure that all property owners are fulfilling their obligations to their tenants and our communities.”

Currently, only rental housing properties with six or fewer units — including short-term rentals advertised on websites like Airbnb and VRBO — must be registered and licensed with Baltimore County.

Under the new legislation proposed by Olszewski today, Baltimore County will create a new self-certified registration process for all rental properties with seven or more units — including large apartment complexes — as long as a property has fewer than three public health, safety, or welfare violations over the past three years. Examples of violations include fire safety infractions, pest and rodent presence, mold or evidence of work done without appropriate permits.

Rental properties with three or more public safety violations over the last three years will be required to perform an inspection of 10 percent of units in order to register and obtain a license. Additional inspections may be required if the violations are found in a majority of the inspected units.

This is the latest effort from the Olszewski administration to improve access to quality housing in Baltimore County.

In his first year in office, the Olszewski administration secured passage of the HOME Act, ending housing discrimination by source of income — after years of unsuccessful attempts — and helped pave the way for similar statewide legislation in 2020.

In May 2021, Olszewski created Baltimore County’s first dedicated Department of Housing and Community Development to centralize Baltimore County’s housing efforts, eliminate overlapping functions, and streamline planning for key outcomes that are previously dispersed across multiple departments.

Earlier this month the County Council passed a package of foundational housing reforms proposed by the Olszewski administration to:

  • Establish a dedicated and permanent Baltimore County Housing Opportunities Fund to allow for reoccurring investment to support the ongoing development, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable and attainable housing;
  • Create Baltimore’s County first-ever process to designate properties as “vacant,” serving as the foundation for future efforts to convert blighted and abandoned properties into housing, including homeownership opportunities;
  • Update the County’s regulations to expand family-member use of accessory apartments (accessory dwelling units or “ADUs”) to increase opportunities to keep families together and allow older adults more opportunities to age in place; and
  • Modernize new townhome construction to create additional housing opportunities aimed at residents who may be priced out of the current housing market.

The legislation announced today was introduced at the Baltimore County Council session on Monday, March 20th.