After 18 months of debate and 5 work sessions, Renters Protection Bill 19-15 was unanimously passed by the Montgomery County Council on 11/29/2016!
This legislation was years in the making. In 2008 County Executive Ike Leggett appointed a diverse group of community members concerned about the unique challenges and issues that renters face to the Tenants Work Group (TWG), and tasked them with reviewing and analyzing issues that negatively impact the quality of life for Montgomery County renters. At the conclusion of their work in 2010, the TWG submitted a detailed report to county elected officials and staff, here, that included 50 recommendations, and identified significant challenges renters face.
This legislation is the result of those efforts, and thanks to the leadership of Montgomery County Renters Alliance (a nonprofit founded in 2011 in response to the TWG recommendations), bill co-sponsors Councilmembers Mark Elrich, Nancy Navaro, and Tom Hucker, and the support of allies like CHEER and countless renter advocates and community members, it is a celebrated first step toward closing the gap for renter equity and protections in this environment of rapid renter population expansion.
The bill can be seen here, and it’s provisions include:
Effective March 13, 2017
Requiring landlords to offer a 2 year lease at each renewal
Requiring landlords to offer community space at no cost to tenants organizing, or holding tenant association meetings
Increased rental housing reporting requirements
Increased and concentrated code enforcement program
Increasing from 60 days to 90 days required notice of rent increases and renewal terms
Allowing tenants to deduct the cost of necessary repairs from rent, if approved by Code
Requiring landlords to post information on how to file a complaint and prohibited retaliatory practices by landlords
Requiring landlords to publish a lease explanation summary provided by the county
Requiring landlords to offer the L/T handbook at lease signing
Expanding language to break a lease for condition beyond a tenant's control
Requiring landlords to post basic rights and complaint contact information in rental office
Effective June 10, 2017
This important work continues. There were provisions struck down from this common sense bill, necessary protections that were not even considered, and Councilmember Roger Berliner urged the establishment of an Office of the Tenant Advocate.
Get involved, and stay tuned…