In preparation for the first Takoma Park forum “Community Conversation” on affordable housing on February 6th, CHEER prepared a one-pager about community and housing profiles in the city. The document discusses several points of data that are relevant to the current state of housing policy and affordability in Takoma Park. First is a discussion of the differences between two types of rent-controlled units: rent stabilized and exempt-from-rent-stabilization units. While the title of the latter sounds as though units are not subject to some rent control policy, that is not the case.
To quickly define:
Rent stabilized units in Takoma Park: are subject to small rent increases based on a specific number derived from agreed upon cost-of-living percentages approved by the City Council. In 2015 that number was .2%; in 2014, 1.6%; in 2013, 1.4%; in 2012, 2.8%; and so on. Rent stabilized units are subject to the statutes outlined in City Code Chapter 6.20.
Exempt-from-rent-stabilization units in Takoma Park: are buildings that would have otherwise been subject to the rent stabilization laws in Takoma Park but were granted an exemption with the understanding that they must abide by a different set of rent control rules. These buildings are subject to rent control of another type based on the area median income (AMI) of Montgomery County, determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In buildings that are exempt, there is a requirement for rent of a certain percentage of units to be no greater than 40% of the AMI, another fraction to be no greater than 50% of the AMI, again still no more than 60% of the AMI, and another fraction to be no greater than 80% of the AMI. There is also a percentage of units allowed to be market-rate rents which are determined by the landlord.
It is important to note that there are approximately 300 units in Takoma Park that are not subject to any rent control laws because they do not fall under the definition outlined in the City Code. Generally, these are single accessory units found in single-family homes where the owner still lives in a different part of the house.
In the one-pager, CHEER found that of the 3,044 units subject