As state legislators consider multiple bills aimed at protecting renters from landlord retaliation or intimidation, an advocacy group will hold a candidates forum in Montgomery County for those seeking the county executive and county council positions.
The Renters Alliance will hold a Montgomery County candidates forum Wednesday, March 5, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring civic center. All of the County Executive and County Council candidates—incumbents and challengers—have committed to attend, according to a news release.
In a sign of growing concerns about renter security in the state of Maryland, the General Assembly is considering a number of bills aimed at protecting renters from landlord retaliation, intimidation and abuse and helping renters stay in their homes.
The legislation includes measures to eliminate a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant without just cause, ending the practice of forcing renters to buy renters insurance naming the landlord as a beneficiary, stopping landlords and property management retaliation against renters, and a tax credit bill aimed at affording renters the ability to claim rent as a state tax deduction in the same way homeowners can claim mortgage interest, and an expansive bill to establish the state’s first Maryland Rental Housing Authority.
“As the population of renters in our state continues to grow dramatically, the abuses and intimidation by too many landlords and their property managers can no longer be ignored,” said Matt Losak, executive director of the Renters Alliance based in Montgomery County, in a news release. “Renters fear losing their home due to excessive and unpredictable rent increases and unjust eviction. They also fear retaliation in other forms such as reduction in building services and maintenance and quality of life.”
According to U.S. Census data, the percentage of Maryland residents living in rental housing has grown from about 10 percent two decades ago to more than 30 percent on average. Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges counties are seeing rental populations surging upwards as 50 percent in the urbanizing areas of theses counties. Further, rental housing construction statewide continues to expand.
The Renters Alliance is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 in response to a recommendation by the Montgomery County Tenants Work Group report which called for the formation of an organization dedicated to providing tenant education and advocacy. Today, the Alliance includes more than 20 labor, community, religious and civic organization and thousands of renters across the state. For more information about the Renters Alliance, visit http://www.RentersAlliance.org.