Montgomery County properties back down on illegal rent increases

Maryland

SILVER SPRING, Md. (WDVM) – Tenants at the Enclave Silver Spring and Park Montgomery Apartments were shocked when they were notified of hefty rent increases between 20 and 33 percent.

After notifying county government, generating social media buzz and getting local advocacy groups involved, the Park Montgomery Apartments has reversed its course.

Tenants at those complexes were sent letters notifying them of the large increases, like the letter below obtained by WDVM.

“That’s outrageous under any circumstances, especially during a pandemic. These two apartment communities were either grossly ignorant of the law or flouting the law, we suspect they were flouting the law,” said Matt Losak, executive director for the Montgomery County Renter’s Alliance.

Increases of that magnitude are against current law. Rent increases are capped at 2.6 percent per Montgomery County law under the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act, enacted this spring. The act looks to protect Montgomery County’s tenant population, which makes up about 40 percent of residents.

The language used in the notices to tenants wasn’t up to standards, either.

“Renewal notices they were given did not contain legal language, along with the illegal increases. So, the tenants are owed any increases they’ve paid since the initial defective renewal notices were issued,” Losak explained.

The complexes will have to either refund their tenants in cash or credit it toward future rent payments.

Enterprise manages the Park Montgomery Apartments, and the company issued apologies and explanations, like the below letters issued to tenants.

Losak says the Enclave Silver Spring hasn’t been responsive, and the building and its management are under investigation by the county’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

“The Enclave has been a historically troubled property, tenants there tell us it’s getting worse and worse over there. So far, we have no evidence that things have changed,” said Losak.

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