For more than a quarter of Montgomery County residents, the need or choice to rent their homes is an important part of their quality of life.
Renting a home is often the only affordable option for young people newly on their own. For many people, renting a home provides flexibility and freedom from the issues associated with ownership. And for many older people, downsizing into a more carefree rental home is part of their retirement dream.
Whatever their reason, according to 2010 U.S. Census data, more than 32% of state and county residents live in rental housing–that figure is even higher in places like downtown Silver Spring, Bethesda and Rockville. The U.S. Census 2013 data has more than 36% of all Americans now living in rental housing. The Renters Alliance is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing renters rights and security as well as providing advocacy, education and support for renters on a variety of issues. In recent years, renters have identified a growing number of concerns that negatively impact their quality of life. These include:
Rents in the County (with the exception of Takoma Park), are not governed by any rent stabilization law. Montgomery County establishes a “Voluntary Rent Increase Guideline” each year, but this is all too frequently ignored by landlords. Renters are subject to annual increases of any size without legal remedy. Some apartment buildings raise rents at different rates in the same year from one apartment to another. The Renters Alliance believes that rents should be fair and predictable.
With as little as 60 days notice prior to the end of a lease, a renter can be notified that they are no longer welcome in their home—and for no apparent good reason. Without adequate “just-cause” eviction law, renters can never be sure if they will be able to live in their same home year in and year out. Just–cause eviction means that a landlord had good, legal reason not to renew a lease, such as criminal activity, failure to pay rent or withdrawing an apartment from further rental. Absent just cause, the Renters Alliance supports just-cause eviction law that requires landlords to renew a lease to a tenant each year without substantial modification of the lease.
A Responsive Government
Renters seeking support for code enforcement and landlord-tenant issues need to
rely on the County’s Housing Code Enforcement Office and the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs (OLTA), both within the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA). The Renters Alliance will continue to develop working relations with these offices to insure that renters are supported and the policies affecting renters get appropriate consideration by those who advocate on behalf of renters.
As the Renters Alliance grows, its programming will work with renters to help form and support tenants associations, promote renter education and help develop positive and productive relationships between renters and landlords. The Renters Alliance will also continue to expand its working relationships with county and state officials responsible for renter policies.
The Renters Alliance was founded in 2011 in response to the County’s Tenant Work Group Report which called for its establishment.
Accurate and Complete Data Collection
The Renters Alliance is working with the DHCA to overhaul its data collection of renter information including accurate and complete information on rent increases, mandatory and accurate survey data and user friendly information for those researching renter and landlord trends in the County.
Hermoine Freeman, Chair
Chris Perry, Vice Chair
Dan Blumenthal, Treasurer
Matt Losak, Secretary
Matt Losak, Executive Director
The Montgomery County Renters Alliance is a 501 (c) (3) independent nonprofit organization registered with the State of Maryland. This Website is the property and sole responsibility of Montgomery County Renters Alliance, Inc. and its contents do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of Montgomery County government.
Your donations go to supporting Renters Alliance services and programs while building a stronger voice for renters.