The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of housing and community development in the 2023 General Assembly.
When advocating for the housing and community development needs of counties MACo supports legislation that bolsters the efforts of local governments to address public and affordable housing, bight, foreclosure, and community development.
In addition to the swearing-in of a new governor, the 445th legislative session kicked off with more relaxed health and safety measures compared to the turbulence of the last few years. This enabled MACo’s policy team to dynamically engage with private-sector stakeholders, legislators, and representatives from all divisions of government. Under these more conventional circumstances, MACo’s advocacy led to a plethora of favorable outcomes for its members.
MACo supported HB60/SB315. This bill establishes the Housing Innovation Pilot Program. The purpose of the pilot was to create opportunities for the State’s public housing authorities to increase the volume of housing production and incentivize housing authorities to increase opportunities by providing State matching funds for housing innovation projects funded through local revolving loan funds. HB60/SB315 Housing Innovation Pilot Program Act of 2023 failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 79/SB 296. This bill establishes the Whole-Home Repairs Program and related fund within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The purpose of the program is to provide funding to local governments or nonprofit agencies to ensure owner-occupied and rental units are free of habitability concerns; improve coordination across home repair programs; and increase retention in workforce development programs. HB79/SB296 Whole Homes Repair Act of 2023 failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 501. This bill establishes the Revitalizing Neighborhoods Through Homeownership Program and related fund within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance in the form of loans to political subdivisions to support the purchase and renovation of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Dollar Homes and abandoned residential properties for resale to low- and moderate-income buyers. HB 501 Revitalizing Neighborhoods Through Homeownership Program and Fund failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB883/SB643. This bill requires the Comptroller to distribute – in each of fiscal 2024 through 2027 – $5.0 million from the State’s unclaimed property fund to the Community Development Program Fund (CDPF) within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). HB883/SB643 Housing – Community Development Program Act – Funding failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported SB 128. This bill established an Emergency Relief Program in the Department of Commerce to assist certain small businesses in the State to recover from economic hardships sustained from multiple emergencies. SB128 Economic Development – Emergency Relief Program – Established failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB674/SB425. This bill alters the uses of the Historic Preservation Loan Fund (Loan Fund) of the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) by authorizing the fund to be used to make a transfer to a qualified cooperating nonprofit organization, as specified. HB674/SB425 Maryland Historic Trust – Historic Preservation Loan Fund – Qualified Cooperating Nonprofit Organizations passed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB552/SB549. This Administration bill establishes the Build Our Future Grant (BOFG) Pilot Program and Fund (BOFGF) in the Department of Commerce to provide grant funding for infrastructure projects intended to support innovation in eligible technology sectors. HB552/SB549 Maryland Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act of 2023 passed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB190/SB77 with amendments. This bill establishes the Homeowner’s Extreme Weather Mitigation and Preparation Grant Program within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The purpose of the program is to assist homeowners, local governments, and nonprofit organizations in preparing and repairing residential properties to mitigate water damage caused by extreme weather. HB190/SB77 Housing and Community Development – Homeowner’s Extreme Weather Mitigation and Preparation Grant Program failed in the General Assembly.
Smart Community Development
MACo supported HB150/S166. This bill establishes that adaptive reuse of a property to develop affordable multifamily housing is an eligible use of the proceeds of a loan for specified housing programs administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The bill requires DHCD to notify applicants to those programs that adaptive reuse of a property to develop affordable multifamily housing is an eligible use of loan proceeds; however, the notification requirement does not apply to loan applications for any DHCD program that does not focus on housing (including programs within the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization). The bill’s provisions apply to any program operated by DHCD that awards loans that may be used to develop affordable multifamily housing. However, if the laws or regulations governing a particular program establish more specific rules regarding the use of a loan for adaptive reuse, the more specific rules must apply. HB150/S166 Housing and Community Development – Adaptive Reuse passed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB706. This bill establishes the Business Facade Improvement Program in the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to assist qualified businesses with improving the outside appearance of the businesses’ buildings and facilities. HB706 Community Development – Sustainable Communities – Business Facade Improvement Program passed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB55 with amendments. This bill authorizes counties and municipalities to establish a local trust fund or other appropriate fund for the purpose of repairing or rehabilitating infrastructure within communities that are subject to the Maryland Condominium Act or the Maryland Homeowners Association Act. HB55 Local Government – Condominium and Homeowners Associations – Repair and Rehabilitation Funds failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB239/SB382 with amendments. This bill establishes an Accessory Dwelling Unit Policy Task Force staffed by the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP). The taskforce will review ADU policies and make recommendations for the development of ADUs in Maryland. HB239/SB382 Accessory Dwelling Unit Policy Task Force passed the General Assembly.
Tenant Rights and Protections
MACo supported SB47. This bill establishes that it is lawful for a person to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication if the person is working as a fair housing tester for a fair housing testing program operated by the federal government, the State, a local government, or a nonprofit civil rights organization; the person is a party to the communication; and the interception is being made for the purpose of obtaining evidence of a fair housing violation under federal, State, or local law. SB47 Evidence – Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance – Fair Housing Testing failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB474/SB945. This bill imposes two measures to limit the purchase of single-family residential real property by large real estate investment companies. First, a person who offers a single-family residential real property for sale to a third party, for the first 30 days, may only accept an offer to purchase the property from an individual, a community development organization, a nonprofit organization, or a real estate enterprise that owns an interest in less than 3% of all residential real property located within the county in which the property is located. This restriction does not apply to a sale in an action to foreclose a mortgage, a deed of trust, or any other lien. Second, the State transfer tax rate is increased to 15% for the sale of a single-family residential real property to a real estate enterprise that has ownership interest in more than 120 single-family residential real properties or ownership interest in residential real property in the State with a total assessed value exceeding $12 million. HB474/SB945 Sale of Residential Real Property – Offers to Purchase and Transfer Tax failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB684/SB504. This bill authorizes a county (including Baltimore City) to enact local laws or ordinances that prohibit a landlord of residential property from failing to renew a lease during the lease term or seeking to terminate a holdover tenancy without just cause. HB684/SB504 Landlord and Tenant – Residential Leases and Holdover Tenancies – Local Just Cause Termination Provisions failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB36/SB100. This bill requires a landlord (in a jurisdiction that requires licensure) when filing a written complaint to repossess residential property to plead with supporting facts, in a form prescribed by the Judiciary, that the property is either licensed in compliance with applicable local rental licensing requirements; exempt from applicable local rental licensing requirements; or unlicensed for specified reasons. These requirements are generally applicable upon the filing of a failure to pay rent, tenant holding over, or breach of lease action (subject to limited exception, including in circumstances involving a clear and imminent danger). At trial, the landlord must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the property is licensed, exempt, or unlicensed for specified reasons. A landlord may provide electronic proof of licensure to satisfy the requirement. HB36/SB100 Real Property – Actions to Repossess – Proof of Rental Licensure passed the General Assembly.