woman speaks at microphone while six people behind her hold signs
Screenshot from WBAL TV-11 YouTube account.

The Howard County Rent Stabilization Coalition will host a Tenant Town Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to discuss what they consider shortcomings of the county executive’s rent stabilization proposal, which they feel would leave many tenants without adequate protection.

The coalition says it has connected with dozens of tenants over the last few months who share the coalition’s concerns, and they will be at the meeting to express them.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball recently introduced a bill intended to reduce rent gouging, but the coalition believes it requires multiple major amendments to truly protect the county’s renters. Ball’s measure would allow for rent increases as high as 10% in a single year, while the coalition has called for an annual rent increase cap of 3%.

Ball’s proposal also exempts certain vulnerable groups of tenants, such as senior citizens in nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities, and tenants in affordable housing units financed with tax credits. The bill also exempts new construction, excluding units for the first 20 years after they’ve been built, which the coalition claims will exclude over 30% of Howard County tenants. The coalition wants assurances of no exemptions for newly-constructed units or any groups of tenants.

With some renters in Howard County having faced rent increases of up to 50%, and as much as $300 per month, the coalition is urging that the rent increase cap be 3%. The coalition has met with the county executive’s office to discuss the details of the bill, and are holding the town hall to give tenants, community members, and the coalition the opportunity to discuss Ball’s proposed bill and the amendments they’d like to see made to secure adequate rent stabilization for tenants in Howard County.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have rent stabilization laws on the books. Montgomery County caps rent increases 3% plus inflation, with a hard cap at 6%, and does exempt newly constructed units and property owners who rent two or fewer units. Prince George’s County limits the rent increase to 3%, but excludes affordable housing units with federal, state, or local subsidies, and properties built within the last five years.

The Howard County Rent Stabilization Coalition’s Tenant Town Hall will take place on Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Branch Public Library in the Maxine Warfield Room. The library is located at 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

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