New Year, New Rent Control Proposals

Rent control proposals are dominating conversations in two Maryland counties.

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2 minute read

Rent control fights will be returning in 2023 and the opening salvo may take place in Maryland; local leaders in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties are considering up to a five percent cap on rent increases.

In Prince George’s County, lawmakers have proposed a temporary cap of annual rent increases to three percent, including for any increases of which the resident was given notice prior to the enactment of the policy but would occur during the specified period. Fines for violation of this act could range from $500 to $1,000.

No definitive proposal has been agreed upon in Montgomery County by the advocates, but it may look something like one introduced over the summer which would cap rent increases to 4.4 percent for six months.

While the Maryland state code does not blanketly allow or prohibit rent control at the local level, it does explicitly give permission to Frederick County and Washington County to “enact [policies] to control the increase of rent in the county.” While it appears that Maryland state law appears to limit rent regulation authority to only these municipalities, this is not necessarily the case given that many counties in Maryland enjoy broad legislative authority through home rule.

The Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) and the Maryland Multi-Housing Association (MMHA) have been quick to mobilize and work collaboratively to defend its members against these serious threats to the rental housing industry. In a joint statement, the two associations reiterated their opposition to rent control and instead, urged support for efforts to address the state’s affordable housing challenges, citing data from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development that the state has a deficit of 85,000 affordable housing units.

“This is at a time when a handful of local jurisdictions in Maryland are considering rent control-related legislation, which puts Maryland on the opposite path,” the statement said. “Rent control has proven a disincentive to the development of additional affordable housing units and diminished the very property taxes funding the jurisdiction. Further, such policy will severely impact our members’ ability to keep up with increasing operating and maintenance costs, negatively impact property values, and will constrain housing supply.”

The National Apartment Association (NAA) continues to work with its affiliate partners like AOBA and MMHA to support their advocacy efforts at the state and local level and educate lawmakers on the perils of rent control.

To learn more about this policy and the industry’s advocacy efforts, contact Ben Harrold, NAA’s Manager of Public Policy.