Bill: Tenant Protections During Emergencies
“Baltimore County Councilman Izzy Patoka wants the council to pass legislation limiting how much landlords can increase rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
Patoka introduced legislation that would prevent landlords from raising rent by more than 2.07% during the coronavirus state of emergency or during the 180 days after the emergency ends. Landlords who have already notified residents about a rent increase would have to ensure the amount doesn’t exceed that limit.
Patoka, a Pikesville Democrat, said his proposal is modeled after similar laws enacted in Montgomery County this year. Patoka wants to ensure rent increases are one less thing residents have to worry about during a state of emergency or ‘catastrophic economic circumstances,’ such as long periods of unemployment.
The legislation would require landlords to provide renters written notice of a rent increase several weeks prior to the increase going into effect. Landlords would still be barred from imposing more than one rent increase on a tenant in a 12-month period.
Under Patoka’s legislation, landlords would be prohibited from reporting delinquencies to a credit bureau for any rent owed during an emergency and for a period of 180 days after the emergency ends. Landlords would also be required to give renters information on where renters can get information on rental assistance.
Patoka’s proposed law would prohibit court judgments in favor of the landlord for nonpayment of rent complaints brought during an emergency unless the landlord can prove they complied with the legislation. Landlords would also be prohibited from charging or collecting late fees or court fees from tenants as well.”
To read the full story in The Baltimore Sun, please click here.
To read the full copy of the proposed bill, please click here.
Members of the public can testify on this bill at the County Council’s work session on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m.