Typically some 25 people might sign up for proposed legislation before the Montgomery County, Maryland, council.
However, two bills dealing with concerns over high rents have attracted a relatively high level of attention. At least 80 people have signed up as of Monday, according to County Council President Evan Glass.
“I have called for a marathon public hearing,” said Glass, adding that the hearings will start at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, then break, and resume at 7 p.m. “This is a very emotional issue for a lot of people, and I want to make sure I hear from as many people as possible,” Glass said during a briefing with reporters Monday.
The two bills up for hearing are both seeking to limit rent hikes. One would allow increases of 8% plus the consumer price index; the other would limit increases to 3% or the CPI — whichever is lower.
Supporters said the lower rent caps are badly needed as families continue to deal with the financial fallout from the pandemic. Opponents, including developers, said the bills likely wouldn’t have the desired effect and could limit housing expansion.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates over a third of Montgomery County’s residents rent their housing.
The council isn’t expected to vote on the issue until the summer.
Earlier this month, the council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and state lawmakers to allocate $175 million in the fiscal year 2024 budget to help fend off a looming “massive wave of evictions.”