Renters prompted by new law to ask landlords about inspections

BALTIMORE - A community organization is encouraging Baltimore renters to ask their landlords about dwelling inspections after a new city ordinance requires all rentals to be inspected and licensed by Jan. 1, 2019.

A group of renters and community organizers, working in contingent with Communities United and the Renters United coalition, met at Baltimore City Rent Court Thursday to remind tenants to ask, "When is my inspection?" Renters were provided details about what is on the city's Rental Licensing Inspection Form as what counts as a violation. 

“Most renters do not know that an inspection of all rental dwellings is now required,” said Zafar Shah of the Public Justice Center, “or what housing code standards must be met.” 

A 2015 survey of Rent Court defendants showed most are black women, existing on $2,000 or less per month without housing assistance, a release by Communities United said. Often to lower housing costs, these women live in poorly maintained dwellings that frequently show housing code violation, with landlords frequently told of these issues. 

“We are excited to see the new law take effect,” said Molly Amster, Baltimore Director of Jews United for Justice, an active member of the Renters United coalition. “Educating renters about the law’s requirements is essential to successful implementation which holds landlords accountable to providing habitable conditions in their properties.”

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