Montgomery Co. Council passes bill to limit rent hikes, late fees

The Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted a bill Tuesday to limit rent increases and late fees in the Maryland county.

The bill was proposed by Council member Will Jawando.



“The racial equity and social justice statement for Expedited Bill 30-21 states that the bill will disproportionately benefit Black and Latino residents because they experience the highest rates of housing insecurity in the county,” Jawando said in a statement.

“By stabilizing rents until May 2022 and preventing the collection of late fees, we will help the many low-income families, senior citizens living on a fixed income and people with disabilities who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and continue to need rental support. All our Montgomery County residents deserve safe and stable housing.”

The bill builds on Maryland’s COVID-19 Rental Relief Act, signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in March 2020, which prevents evictions from nonpayment of rent resulting from the pandemic’s financial impact.

Rent stabilization under the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act was set to expire Nov. 15. Under this bill, the stabilization — prohibiting rent increases above 1.4% and providing late fee relief — is extended six months, to May 15, 2022.

Tenants do not need to claim specific economic conditions to landlords in order to qualify for the rent limitation, according to a council release.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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