Rent Control in Maryland/Rent Control In Baltimore
I occasionally get asked f there is rent control in Maryland or in Baltimore. Currently neither Maryland nor Baltimore have rent control. Often I talk to people who believe there is rent control in Maryland. In some ways I am a little surprised, as Maryland and even more so Baltimore, is very liberal. Fortunately for both landlord and tenants there is no rent control. Studies prove rent control reduces both quality and quantity of housing. More importantly the benefits of rent control often do not go to the very people it is intended to help.
The Maryland House of representatives has introduced House Bill 315 proposing rent controls and Just cause evictions. This is a serious encroachment on our property rights. The bill limits rent increases to 5% and requires there to be a “Just Cause” to remove a tenant from a property. Simply choosing not to renew a lease is not an option.
On the surface, today a 5% increase may seem reasonable. It would be easy to say this is not a real problem for landlords. Yet it is a serious problem. What happens when inflation is 10% but you can only raise rents 5%. What happens if you rents are well below market and you finally realize you need to catch up to market rates? What happens when you buy a property with a tenant that has low rent? You will not be able to bring the rent up to market rates. This will hold down property values on tenant occupied properties. That’s just what we need now, more government interference to hold down property values.
Just Cause Evictions
One issue that comes up regularly, primarily from delegates from Montgomery county, is “Just Cause Evictions”. These
Morons Delegates want a law that says there needs to be a “Just Cause” to remove a tenant from a property. Obviously the landlord needs to follow the lease and there already needs to be a just cause to remove a tenant. However the new law limits the reasons you can remove a tenant to 11 specific reasons. It would appear that the landlord choosing not to renew a lease is NOT one of the reasons allowed.
Gee is it possible they left out some legitimate reasons. Anyone who has been a landlord for a while knows it is perfectly legitimate to get rid a of a tenant that is an Asshole. But that would not be allowed. By law you would have to renew your lease with bad tenants. How about a breach of lease? Can you remove a tenant if they breach the lease? Well the new law says only if it is “substantial”. Although Rent Control is more likely to get the attention of landlords, “Just Cause” is probably a greater infringement of our property rights. The problem is the term just cause is used to push through a policy that is anything but just.
Blame the Politicians
This bill is proposed and or sponsored by delegates; Hixson, Cullison, Gutierrez, Hucker, Kaiser, Luedtke, and A. Miller. It is interesting to note that every one of these morons is from Montgomery County. It is sad that we don’t require that you need to be able to pass an economics test to be elected. Obviously the group above can’t.
You Can Help
There are three things you can do to help
- Write, email or call, The delegates above or those on the Environmental Matters Committee which is hearing the bill.
- Come to the hearing for the bill to testify.
- Join the Property Owners Association. This helps fund a lobbyist to fight for real estate investors and address all the anti-landlord bills that come up regularly.
A hearing on this bill is scheduled for Thursday 2/28/13 at 1:00. If you have never testified before the legislature it is easy. It is important to have a good turnout, whichever side you are on. If all you do is show up and take ten seconds to say I am against the bill, it will help. If you get good feeling that you have done your civic duty when you vote, you will get the feeling ten fold by testifying.
Update On rent control hearing location
Find your Legislators here
Why rent control does not work
I wanted to add more to this post about how counter productive rent control is. However in the interest of time I will simply refer you to a great and well researched blog post by Morgan Politan. Why rent control l doesn’t work.
What do you think of rent control? Leave a comment. – Thanks, Ned