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Newly formed coalition calls for rent stabilization in Howard County

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Sep 14, 2023

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Tenants in Howard County are fed up with high rent prices and they're doing something about it.

"What do we want? Rent stabilization. When do we need it? Now," shouted the small crowd outside the Howard County courthouse Thursday morning.

The newly formed rent stabilization coalition has six demands for any new legislation limiting what landlords can charge.

They want fees and increases to be capped, new construction to be included, all residents to be covered, vacancies to be controlled and an enforcement team.

"To be clear, any rent stabilization bill that does not closely resemble the six features that I just described is a non-starter and is not a serious attempt to protect vulnerable tenants," said Jake Burdett from Our Revolution in Howard County.

Blair Chisholm rented in downtown Columbia for over a year until their landlord decided to raise the rent.

"I received my lease renewal offer and it was a 50% increase from $1,334 to $1,998 and I was given that offer six days before I needed to sign that lease," said Chisholm.

Chisholm had to move from their apartment in downtown Columbia, taking a minor rent increase vs. a big one.

It's something many renters have to do to keep their rent from getting so high they can't afford it.

"Since my husband and I met in 2017, we have had to move four times due to unpredictable, outrageous rent increases," said Beth Sneddon.

Howard County councilor Liz Walsh was at the event and she's one of the five people the coalition will need to convince to pass rent stabilization.

According to the coalition, the county councilors have talked about bringing new legislation to the table in the next few months.