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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 2, 2023

Comprehensive proposal makes historic new investments in rental assistance, introduces legislation to combat rent gouging, boosts access to homeownership and supports income-restricted affordable housing

Councilmembers Natali Fani-González, Andrew Friedson, Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Sidney Katz, and Dawn Luedtke today announced a bold new proposal to alleviate pressures on the County’s most vulnerable renters. Like most similar jurisdictions throughout the country, Montgomery County faces a housing affordability crisis.

The County has a tremendous housing challenge, with 41,000 housing units needed by 2030 to accommodate population growth and alleviate pressure on county renter households that are cost burdened. Based on a County-specific study, extensive research including from the NYU Furman Center, and the real-world experiences of other jurisdictions across the country, particularly Oregon, Minnesota, and California, the Tenant Assistance and Protection Package will provide direct assistance to the most vulnerable residents, protect against rent gouging, provide access to homeownership to build generational wealth, and increase supply of income-restricted affordable housing.

Anti-Rent Gouging Legislation 

The first component of the Tenant Assistance and Protection package is anti-rent gouging legislation that eliminates excessive rent increases in a way that doesn’t threaten new housing construction which is essential for Montgomery County to meet its regional targets. The legislation would cap maximum rental increases in multi-unit buildings at eight percent plus inflation (based on the consumer price index). The legislation provides for a 15-year exemption for new construction and provides an allowance for building owners undergoing major renovations or financial hardship to ensure safe and dignified housing. 

$30 Million in Rental Assistance  

Essential support for renters in need of financial assistance is also a key component of the comprehensive package that would increase Montgomery County’s Rental Assistance Program to $30 million. This additional $18 million investment represents a 150 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. This puts more resources directly into renters' hands who need it the most.  

The sponsors of the Tenant Assistance and Protection Package are calling on County Executive Marc Elrich to include these funds in his recommended budget, due for submission to the Council on March 15.

$4.5 Million in Homeownership Access 

With the goal of increasing homeownership opportunities in historically underserved communities and to help residents build generational wealth, the package includes $3 million in funding to support first-time homebuyers, with $1.5 million allocated homeowners who are most at risk of losing their homes. This $4.5 million in funding would come from the 2022 American Rescue Plan Act.

Concurrently, led by Chair Friedson, the Planning, Housing and Parks Committee is developing a new revolving affordable housing fund with a goal of reaching $50 million. This fund will support nonprofit housing providers modeled after the successful Housing Production Fund created in 2022 and augmented in 2023. 

This comprehensive package of robust rental assistance, increased affordable housing production, and anti-rent gouging regulations follows research and lessons learned from other jurisdictions to target support and protections to the most vulnerable residents without discouraging desperately needed investment in housing production and building maintenance. 

Release ID: 23-068
Media Contact: Tommy Heyboer 240-777-7867
Categories: Andrew Friedson, Dawn Luedtke, Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Natali Fani-González, Sidney Katz