ANNAPOLIS — A legislative package designed to address critical housing issues facing Maryland communities has been announced.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an incredible amount of strain on families across the state,” said Speaker Jones. “This legislation addresses issues raised by the pandemic and strengthens the landlord tenant process in the future. We are confident that this package will help more people stay in their homes, pay their rent, and preserve affordable housing options for families.”
The housing package is designed to create long-term funding of rental and legal assistance, solidify tenant protections during this emergency health order and beyond while creating clarity and transparency for both tenants and landlords.
The legislative package will also include bills to:
- Increase fees for landlords to file for evictions
- Create a special fund to for rental assistance and legal aid programs
- Create a means-tested right to counsel in specific landlord-tenant cases
- Require landlords to notify tenants before they file for an eviction
- Allow judges discretion to stay an eviction in specific emergency situations
- Requiring landlord verification of lead certification and local licensure when filing for eviction
- Extend the notice period to tenants for non-renewal of residential leases
- Improve transparency in utility costs when they are passed on to tenants
- Protect victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking in lease terminations
- Require statewide data collection and reporting on the eviction process
The legislation is contained in multiple bills in the House Judiciary and Environment and Transportation Committees.