Renters Alliance Hosts Councilmember Kate Stewart, Discusses Pending Legislation

Council Vice President Kate Stewart discussed upcoming legislation aimed at protecting renters on Wednesday evening at the Montgomery County Renters Alliance Town Hall.

The Tenant Protection and Notification Bill, which will be officially announced on March 5, ensures tenants are:

  • Protected from broken air conditioning.
  • Knowledgeable of renters’ insurance in their lease.
  • Informed about fire prevention protocols.
  • Contacted about specific emergencies.

The fire at the Arrive apartments last February and a power outage at The Grand in North Bethesda last August were the two main events that encouraged the bill, Stewart said. However, she also told attendees that Renters Alliance played a big role in making the bill possible.

I just want to do a huge shoutout to the Renters Alliance because it is bringing people together,” she said. “Hearing your voices and understanding your firsthand experiences, that really helps with the input on good legislation.”

Renters Alliance was also excited to talk about Gov. Wes Moore’s Renters’ Rights and Stabilization Act. This package, which was introduced on Tuesday, raises the cost for landlords to file eviction cases, makes renting more affordable by lowering the maximum security deposit, and alters the criteria to qualify for the Statewide Rental Assistance Program, among other things.

Matt Losak, Executive Director of Renters Alliance, noted that the bill would also create a position devoted to advancing renters’ rights in the Department of Housing and Community Development. He called the legislation “historic.”

Losak also discussed upcoming legislation to provide just cause for evictions. Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins proposed this bill to require landlords to automatically renew leases at the end of the term unless the landlord provides a valid reason to do otherwise. Currently, the law allows landlords to evict without reasonable cause.

“It is a big problem and it is devastating to some people who have not done anything wrong but are being forced out of their homes,” he said. “It is extremely disparaging and has a massive chilling effect on the entire community.”

Beyond legislative discussions, the town hall meeting also sought to bring community members together.

“Renters Alliance encourages all of these renters to get a Renters Association in their buildings.”  Renters Alliance community outreach coordinator Pat Beckham said. “We think there is power in numbers.”

The next renter town hall meeting will be on March 6, which will host the Housing Initiative Partnership and focus on tax relief for renters.

Photo: © mbruxelle –

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