The passage of Renter Protection Bill 19-15 is good first step in the work that must be done to protect renters in Montgomery County. 19-15 provides common sense and meaningful provisions to help protect the 36% of county residents who rent. We thank the County Council for its unanimous support for this bill. We also thank all of our allies, especially UFCW 1994, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, CHEER, Progressive Neighbors, Safe Silver Spring, Jews United for Justice, Saint Camillus Multicultural Parish and the Catholic Ardiocese of Washington and CASA as well as all of our thousands of Renters, Renter Activists and Tenant Associations.
We also express our gratitude to the bill’s co-sponsors: Council Members Tom Hucker and Nancy Navarro whose early support for the bill was critical to the final bill’s success.
In 2007, over 1000 renters signed a petition urging County Executive Isiah Leggett to enact rent stabilization and a just-cause eviction law, end month-to-month lease fees, and establish a working group to look into tenant issues and propose recommendations. From 2008-2010, the Tenants Work Group (TWG) met regularly to research issues and concerns and develop recommendations. The TWG issued its report to the Council and Executive in 2010.
Throughout this process, renters had Council Member Marc Elrich in our corner. Building on a long history as a champion of renters’ rights in Takoma Park, he advised Matt Losak (now Renters Alliance Executive Director) and a small group of active tenants to demonstrate to County government that renters have a voice by developing an initial petition. He advised the County Executive to support and establish a Tenants Work Group, which Mr. Leggett did becoming the first County Executive to support such an effort. Mr. Elrich worked with the TWG for two solid years, and when the recommendations of the TWG went unheard for too long, he proposed the first package of renter protection legislation to be successfully passed by the County.
Renters of Montgomery County will owe Mr. Elrich a great debt of gratitude for this legislation and we thank him for his persistence, as he moved through the Council at one time standing alone on renter issues and now standing with a unanimous vote.
While we celebrate the passage of Bill 19-15, we know that we have a long way to go. Today, the Council passed a modest, commonsense bill that will help many. However, each year renters face the uncertainty of no-cause eviction and increasing rents that will likely force them from their homes. We look forward to working with the Council and the Executive to address these issues and others while strengthening the growing renter voice which has today been substantially strengthened.
Montgomery Council approves package of new protections for tenants
(November 29, 2016 | The Washington Post)
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