“The rent’s too damn high.”
That’s how Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich introduced the topic of his proposed legislation that would extend the caps on rent increases in the Maryland county during his weekly briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
Under legislation Elrich is proposing, landlords could not raise rents beyond 4.4% for six months. A previous measure enacted by the county council during the pandemic expired on May 15.
According to the letter he sent to County Council President Gabe Albornoz, Elrich said that the measure would “provide a period of adjustment to new higher rents” and still “provide landlords with increases for operating costs.”
Elrich, who was joined at the briefing by Council member Will Jawando, said residents had reported getting notified of increases of as much as 19%.
“That’s bags of groceries off the table, that’s clothes that kids don’t get, that’s access to medical care that kids don’t get,” Elrich said.
“No one’s saying you shouldn’t be able to make a reasonable return or keep up your property,” said Jawando, who called the cap of 4.4%, “Very reasonable.”
Jawando — a supporter of Elrich’s legislation — said his office had been contacted by a renter in Silver Spring who’s reportedly facing a 19% rent increase.
“This is one example of what’s happening,” Jawando said. “And she’s not alone.”
If passed by the county council, the legislation would go into effect immediately.
WTOP contacted the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington for comment on the proposal.