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Press Releases - County Council

Council enacts bill to improve tenants’ health and safety spearheaded by Councilmember Will Jawando

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From the Office of Will Jawando

Bill 18-19 will require landlords to pay relocation payment if
rental housing is condemned as unfit and give tenants right of
first refusal to re-occupy housing after repairs

ROCKVILLE, MD., Jan. 14, 2020—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted Bill 18-19, Landlord Tenant Relations – Relocation Expenses, with the goal of improving the health and safety of tenants living across Montgomery County. Councilmember Will Jawando (at-large member) is the lead sponsor of the legislation. Council President Sidney Katz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice are cosponsors.

Bill 18-19 requires a landlord to make a tenant relocation payment if the tenant’s housing is condemned as unfit for human habitation. The bill also requires a landlord to provide a tenant with a right of first refusal to re-occupy rental housing. In addition, the legislation provides financial assistance when a tenant is displaced because of unfit living conditions that are not caused by the tenant.

“This legislation above all addresses our residents’ need for safe, clean and affordable housing,” said Jawando. “It will help ensure that conditions like mold and rodent infestation, for which they are not responsible, do not become a destabilizing factor in their lives.”

“It was also important that the final bill included my original provision to provide the greater of 3 months of market rent or actual rent in the relocation costs. People who unexpectedly lose their housing are faced with moving costs and in many cases, higher rent.”

“This bill is not designed to create a financial burden or be punitive to landlords in any way. It is rather about recognizing the moral imperative to ensure our residents’ and their families’ health and wellbeing is not adversely affected by their housing.”

The right of first refusal means that, in the event housing is condemned as unfit for human habitation, tenants would be guaranteed the right to return to their homes, if they choose, once repairs are completed.

Watch Councilmember Jawando’s comments on Bill 18-19:

Read more about Bill 18-19 here:

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Release ID: 20-010
Media Contact: Cecily Thorne 240-777-7811