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Press Releases - County Council

Councilmember Will Jawando Introduces Bill Limiting Rent Increases and Prohibiting Landlords from Charging Late Rent Payments Fees Accrued for One Year After the Expiration of the Maryland State of Emergency

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 13, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 13, 2021—Today Councilmember Will Jawando introduced Expedited Bill 30-21, Landlord-Tenant Relations – Restrictions During Emergencies – Extended Limitations Against Rent Increases and Late Fees, which would extend the limitation on rent increases from 90 days to one year after the expiration of the public health emergency. In addition, the bill would prohibit charging late fees accrued during, and for one year after the emergency. Councilmember Jawando is the lead sponsor of Bill 30-21.

Expedited Bill 30-21 would build upon expedited legislation passed by the Council last April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 rental crisis. The 2020 legislation, the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act, limited the increase of residential rents during the catastrophic health emergency declared by Governor Hogan on March 5, 2020. Under the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act, the limitation on rent increases lasts for 90 days after the emergency expires.

“When we were thrust into COVID-19 in March 2020, we had no idea how long it would last,” said Councilmember Jawando, who serves on the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “Now, almost 18 months later, we are on our way back, but the economy has a long way to go toward a full and equitable recovery. Many of our residents who lost jobs are behind on rent, bills and are searching for employment and stability. Bill 30-21 will provide critical relief to help folks remain stable in their homes as we recover.”

In addition to limiting rent increases, the bill would prohibit landlords from charging fees accrued for late rent payments during the emergency and for a period of one year after the expiration of the emergency. The bill would not require landlords to refund late fees that have been paid already, but it would apply to any uncollected late fee for rent that became due on or after the date of the emergency, including rent that became due on or after the date of the emergency and before the effective date of Bill 30-21. The bill also would extend the sunset of the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act. The Act currently is scheduled to sunset 181 days after the expiration of the emergency. Bill 30-21 would extend the sunset until 18 months after the expiration of the emergency.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

 

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Release ID: 21-288
Media Contact: Pam Luckett, 240-777-7971
Categories: Will Jawando