For Immediate Release: Monday, March 13, 2017
Department of Housing and Community Affairs is Expanding Its Focus on Tenant Rights; Monday, March 13th marks the first of two implementation dates for Bill 19-15
In the context of new tenant protections that take effect today, the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) is leveraging its additional authority and resources to ratchet up efforts to inform and protect tenants.
New DHCA actions include upgrading its tenant rights website, initiating more extensive inspections and compliance efforts, and creating an inventory of buildings to identify those that require extra attention to achieve and remain in compliance with County codes – all in the context of maintaining a marketplace that is fair to both tenants and landlords.
“DHCA does a lot for the community,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “It enforces County laws designed to prevent deterioration, promote safety, and maintain sanitary conditions. It also provides a mechanism for tenants and landlords to resolve conflicts. Through this bill and with the resources that I have recommended, DHCA will expand these programs to enhance the rights of Montgomery County residents.”
“Over the next two years, we will be inspecting every apartment building in the County, looking at a percentage of units in each building, and if warranted, inspecting every unit,” said DHCA Director Clarence J. Snuggs. “As always, when we find violations that a landlord has not corrected after DHCA issues an order to do so, we have the option to issue additional notices of violations or to issue citations, and we will inspect again, until corrected.”
In addition to a more extensive inspection process, Bill 19-15 includes several other improvements in tenant rights and protections. Those include greater clarity and flexibility with leases, expanded options for DHCA to deal with landlords who do not make mandated repairs in a timely manner, and guarantees of free meeting places to gather and form tenant organizations. Details, additional rights and protections, and resource guides can be found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/tenantrights.
DHCA will continue to add features to the DHCA “Tenant Rights” website to provide users with a more interactive experience and tools to show DHCA’s progress in implementing this important legislation.
Note: The second implementation date for other provisions contained in Bill 19-15 is June 10, 2017. Provisions taking effect then will require landlords to provide tenants with notices regarding filing complaints and prohibited retaliatory practices as well as certain information about electric and gas billing.
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Release ID: 17-439