MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Maryland legislative session is right around the corner, and officials are working on a bill to prevent evictions in Montgomery County.
Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins is sponsoring the Montgomery County Stable Homes Act, which will add another layer of protection for tenants’ rights. The bill would require landlords to give a reason for evicting a tenant. Many are struggling to make rent during the pandemic, and Wilkins says it doesn’t make it any better when landlords can terminate leases with no proven cause or reason.
Another part of the bill would protect vulnerable tenants from retaliation as some landlords have been accused of evicting residents for filing complaints on conditions like pests or leaks. Matt Losak, the director of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, Inc, says the county is currently expecting a staggering 20,000 to 30,000 evictions out of nearly 400,000 renters.
“Justification has to be one of the reasons outlined in the law, so that can include, maybe they (landlords) are taking the unit off the market, maybe there was a violation of the lease, it really gives the tenant an opportunity to defend themselves,” said Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, District -20, (D) MD.
The Montgomery County Council is also looking to pass a bill that would allow tenants to break their leases if the landlord fails to correct mold or rodent infestations within 30 days.