In the City’s latest efforts to relieve residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting the increase of rent and application of late fees during and after the Governor’s State of Emergency. This ordinance, which was brought forward by Alderman Ben MacShane, aims to promote housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent avoidable homelessness.
This legislation passed unanimously (5-0) on Thursday evening and states that:
- A landlord may not increase a tenant’s rent if the increase would take effect during the Governor’s State of Emergency or 180 days after the conclusion of the emergency.
- A landlord may not charge, assess, or otherwise seek to collect a late fee from a tenant for the nonpayment or late payment of rent that comes due during the Governor’s State of Emergency or 180 days after the conclusion of the emergency.
- A landlord may not deduct monies from any held security deposit as a method of collecting late fees or rent increases that were prohibited by this ordinance.
- A landlord who violates this ordinance will be fined $1000, with each day in violation deemed a separate offense.
The ordinance went into effect on the date it was passed (July 2, 2020).
The City identifies that increasing rent during a time when many tenants are struggling to pay their rent, whether due to loss of work, business closure, and/or reduced hours, places tenants in jeopardy of being able to pay their rent and risking eviction. The City continues its work to support residents with COVID-19 related housing impacts and will be announcing additional programs soon.
“We are all living through a crisis this year, and thousands of our residents are barely hanging on. Many of our renters, who already lived paycheck to paycheck, are now living on the edge of a cliff. This measure will relieve the burden and uncertainty a bit while our City rolls out multiple assistance programs this summer,” shared Alderman MacShane.
Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency on March 5, 2020, which remains in effect.