On Tuesday, March 7th, a hearing will be held for two new legislative bills which greatly impact Maryland Rental Property Owners. Your voice needs to be added to the conversation! This petition will be submitted as testimony by Maryland Multi-Housing Association.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT THESE PROPOSED PIECES OF LEGISLATION?
It’s simple. They severely limit a landlord’s ability to recover rent, utilities, and other damages through the Failure-to-Pay-Rent process. While rental owners still have to cover operating expenses (i.e. mortgage, water), the proposed legislation creates more opportunity for unwarranted delays within the court before rent is paid to the owner.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Please sign and share this petition to show your opposition to HB1346, which seeks to:
- Define rent for residential leases only as fixed and periodic payments; and
- Explicitly prohibit a landlord from collecting on any additional payments due from the tenant as written in the lease.
THEREFORE, IT WILL:
- Remove a landlord’s ability to collect on utility bills, environmental citations, damages, or or charges authorized in the lease when filing Failure to Pay Rent (FTPR) cases in Rent Court;
- Force landlords to utilize the civil court for any charge other than rent, which is cost prohibitive and more time consuming;
- Require landlords to charge a fixed fee for variable expenses, such as water and therefore add risk of possible abuse; and
- Have unintended consequences (listed in the petition below) to the industry.
OUR VIEW IS:
Rent should be defined as what’s written in a signed lease contract between two responsible parties (so long as it doesn’t violate other statutes).
Please sign and share this petition to show your opposition in advance of the March 7th hearing This petition closes on March 5th). We need show our collective strength in numbers on this issue!
NOTE: We now have some concern with HB1487. We are not completely opposing this bill, as it has some merit as a result of consensus work done in the Summer Study Work Group. However, there was no agreement on the definition of rent, and the last minute introduction of HB1346 undermines the cooperative spirit of this consensus bill. Therefore we are circumspect to fully support and endorse this bill. It’s important to be aware of it.
Learn more about HB1487 and our concerns on how it will affect Maryland Property Owners in our blog about the issue.
If you have any questions about either bill, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]
JOIN LANDLORD 411:
You can also stay on top of this and other issues affecting you by joining Landlord 411. We are advocates for small business and independent landlords.
Thank you in advance for your support,
Brian Wojcik, Organizer, Landlord 411
HB1346, which seeks to:
- Define rent only as fixed and periodic payments; and
- Explicitly prohibit a landlord from collecting on any additional payments due from the tenant as written and signed in the lease contract.
We believe that rent should be defined as what’s written in a signed lease contract, so long as it does not violate other statutes.
This Proposed Legislation has Unintended Consequences
- Landlords will limit lease terms to month-to-month. This doesn’t promote stability in the community.
- Landlords will raise rent anticipating this will be the only means to be compensated for tenant consumable water expenses. This doesn’t promote affordable housing.
- If so, tenants have no incentive to budget their consumption of water, or notify the landlord if there is a water leak. And, they are less likely to report water leaks. This doesn’t promote healthy living. The consequence of unreported water leaks will likely increase harmful health effects such as mold growth.
- Adversely and disproportionately affects affordable housing and seniors. If rent is raised, it means higher income requirements for tenants, and fewer applicants on fixed and limited income will qualify.
- If a water bill is not paid, law permits a municipal lien to be placed on the property if the amount owed is $750 in Baltimore City ($250 in other counties). The lien can be sold at tax sale, and the property foreclosed. This doesn’t promote landlord investment and can exacerbate the problem of affordable, safe, and clean housing.
- There will be less re-investment to make improvements into existing housing by the landlords. This doesn’t promote habitability standards.
- 78% of housing in Baltimore is 1-4 unit properties; Most rental housing is owned by small business and independent landlords. These working-class folks need the rent and reimbursable tenant consumable expenses (such as water) to pay their own operating expenses.