Recently, Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich proposed a legislation on rent stabilization. Under Elrich’s proposal, “landlord[s would be] allowed to raise rents to 120 percent” of the consumer price index. Any rental raises of 150 percent or more would require a letter of explanation as well as an analysis of the costs and benefits for the proposed rental increases.
Over the past few years, Elrich has been active in trying to implement rent control. Many renters have complained that their rents were raised significantly in the past few months despite the voluntary guidelines the county issued earlier in the year. As Montgomery County climbs towards more high-density urban development, the amount of renters will only increase. Currently, renters make up about 30 percent of Montgomery County’s housing population.
However, Elrich has received little support from his fellow councilmembers. “I was told it’s dead on arrival,” he stated about his proposals. He acknowledged “that [stabilizing rent] will be a hard sell,” but remained hopeful in his work to pass these rent control laws in Montgomery County. He was successful in passing similar rent stabilization laws as a Takoma Park City Councilmember, and hope to do the same for the whole county.
Councilmember Nancy Floreen explained that rent control implementation is unlikely in Montgomery County. If the government does anything to control rent, it will be “expensive and costly to everyone,” she stated. Investing in rent control would cost a lot of money for many buildings in Montgomery County because of their deteriorating state.
Some members of the Montgomery County Council believe that implementing the rent control measures Elrich proposed could also “stifle economic development” in the area. If passed, rent control would set regulations on the amount landlords could charge their tenants, which may hinder housing development.
Despite the limited backing Councilman Elrich is receiving, he plans to continue pushing the proposal ahead. He has been working toward rent stabilization for years, and hopes to implement its practices in all of Montgomery County.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Wafa Jawad of Clarksburg High School