Baltimore City Council Approves Renter Relief Act

Posted By: Aaron Greenfield Member Outreach ,

On May 11th, the Baltimore City Council passed the Renter Relief Act, Council Bill 20-0526.  Read a final version of the bill here.

A summary of the bill follows.  Please feel free to contact Aaron Greenfield, Adam Skolnik or your legal counsel for any questions.

Council Bill No. 20-526 - Summary

1.  “Emergency” is defined as the Governor’s March 5, 2020 Order and any extensions of it

2.  Rent Increase Prohibition Application:
         Applies only to rent increases on EXISTING tenants during an emergency IF the increase would TAKE EFFECT DURING
         the emergency

3.  Notices of Rent Increase:

      A. Sending NOTICE of an INCREASE

  • During an emergency and
  • Within 90 days after the expiration of the emergency

      B. Implementing a Rent Increase where

  • Notice was sent BEFORE an emergency with an EFFECTIVE date occurring ON OR AFTER the Date the Emergency began

      C. Imposes AFFIRMATIVE DUTY on Landlords to notify the tenant to DISREGARD the notice

4.  Late Fees

  • Definition- Any additional charge or fee imposed because rent is not paid when due
  • Includes -Flat rate, Percentage of Rent due or “any other terms”
  • CANNOT CHARGE OR COLLECT a late fee FOR rent that comes due DURING an emergency and is paid late

5. Penalties and Enforcement

  • Environmental Control Board is to do enforcement of these provisions by issuing citations BUT that is NOT exclusive.  Tenant can seek civil, criminal or other enforcement remedies authorized by law.
  • Each day of a continuing violation is a new offense
  • Penalty is $1,000/ day

6. Retroactivity

  • Applies retroactively from March 5
  • Financial penalty may only be applied to violations committed AFTER the date of ENACTMENT of the Ordinance

7. The take away

  • Get immediate notice to disregard rent increase to tenants previously notified
  • Credit affected late charges to tenant’s accounts immediately and adjust balances