Bill No.
19-15
Concerning: Landlord -Tenant Relations
- Licensing of Rental Housing -
Landlord-Tenant Obligations
Revised: 11/29/2016
Draft No.
__11_
Introduced:
April 21. 2015
Enacted:
November 29, 2016
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
_N~o=n~e~------
Ch. _ _ , Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmember Elrich
Co-Sponsor: Councilmembers Navarro and Hucker
AN ACT
to:
( 1) provide for annual inspection of certain residential rental properties;
(2) require the use of a standard form lease and applicable optional provisions for certain
residential rental properties;
(3) require the publication of certain information related to rental housing;
(4) require the Department of Housing and Community Affairs to review certain rent
increases;
(5) provide for certain remedies to be awarded by the Commission on Landlord-Tenant
Affairs;
(6) provide certain rights to tenants facing rent increases; and
(7) generally amend the law related to landlord-tenant relations.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 29, Landlord- Tenant Relations
Sections 29-6, 29-22, 29-27, 29-28, 29-30. 29-31, 29-33. 29-47, 29-51, 29-53, and 29-54
[[By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 29, Landlord- Tenant Relations]]
[[Sections]] [[Section 29-55]] [[and 29-56]]
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 19-15
1
Sec.
1.
Sections 29-6, 29-22, 29-27, 29-28, 29-30. 29-31, 29-33. 29-47, 29-51,
29-53, and 29-54 are amended [[and]] [[Sections]] [[Section 29-55]] [[and 29-56
are]]
[~added]]
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3
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5
6
as follows:
29-6. Duties of Director.
In addition to any other power, duty, or responsibility assigned in this Chapter,
the Director has the following duties:
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*
ill
*
*
The Director must publish and [[provide on request to landlords and
tenants]] maintain on the County
website~
[[standard form]] model lease,
drafted in clear language understandable to persons without legal training
U~
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which must be used in each written lease for rental housing located in
the Countyll. [[The Director must publish and provide on request to
landlords and tenants model optional provisions, drafted in clear language
understandable to persons without legal training, which may be used in
~
lease for rental housing located in the County.]] The Director must make
the [[standard form]] model lease [[and optional provisions]] available in
English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other
languages, as [[needed]] determined necessary by the Director.
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20
.{g}
The Director must publish [[and provide on request to landlords and
tenants,]] and maintain on the County website, in a printable format.
~
21
Landlord-Tenant Handbook to serve
as~
practical guide for landlords and
tenants summarizing their respective rights and responsibilities. The
Director must make the Landlord-Tenant Handbook available in English,
Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other languages, as
[[needed]] determined necessarv by the Director. The Director must
review the handbook at least [[biannually]] biennially and revise it as
necessary.
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ful
The Director must report on rental housing inspections to the Executive
and the Council. by September 1 of each year. The report must include:
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the address of each propertv inspected during the prior fiscal year;
the address of each property that has been inspected or is scheduled
to be inspected on an annual or triennial basis during the current
fiscal year;
ill
for each property inspected:
(A)
a summarv of violations by:
ill
(ii)
number found;
number corrected; and
type of violation; and
(iii)
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the status of any incomplete inspections.
for each property required to have a corrective action plan under
Section 29-22 in the prior fiscal year or during the current fiscal
year. a list of:
(A)
violations found;
violations corrected; and
the status of the corrective action
plan[L]]~
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au
(Q
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ill
(fil
the number of citations issued to each landlord during the prior and
current fiscal years;
the amount of fines collected from each landlord during the prior
and current fiscal years; and
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the number of calls to the County concerning rental housing
complaints. by language of the caller.
*
29-22. Inspection of rental housing.
*
*
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55
(a)
[The] Except as provided in this Section, the Director must inspect [[all
rental housing consisting of two or more dwelling units, includingl] each
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apartment complex and personal living quarters building licensed as
rental housing.1 at least once [every three years] [[each year]] within each
three-year period to determine if it complies with all applicable laws.
[The Director may inspect an apartment complex or personal living
quarters building more often than the triennial inspection.] The Director
may inspect an apartment complex or personal living quarters building
more often than the triennial inspection.
(b)
[[If
the Director finds that
~
landlord of licensed rental housing has
~
demonstrated history of compliance with applicable laws over the most
recent three years, the Director may thereafter inspect the licensed rental
housing once every three years.]] The Director must inspect. at least once
each year. any rental housing which. after inspection. the Director:
ill
finds in violation of any applicable law that adversely affects the
immediate health and safety of the tenants. including:
(A)
rodent or insect infestation affecting 20% or more units in a
building;
i
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(Q
(D)
extensive and visible mold growth on interior walls or
surfaces exposed to the occupied space;
windows that do not permit a safe means of egress;
pervasive and recurring water leaks the result in chronic
dampness. mold growth. or personal propertv damage in
more than one unit; or
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(ID
lack of one or more working utilities that is not shut off due
to tenant non-payment. including:
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(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
natural gas;
electricity;
water;
sewage disposal; or
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~
determines to be a troubled property, under a procedure established
by method (2) regulation that:
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~
classifies violation types by severity; and
rates properties by:
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(ii)
severity of violations; and
quantity of violations.
.(£}
The Director must require a corrective action plan for any propertv
subiect to annual inspections under subsection Cb). A property required to
develop and implement a corrective action plan must be inspected at least
once each year until the Director determines that the corrective action
plan has been successfully completed.
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@
The Director may inspect any other rental housing if the Director receives
a complaint or a request from a landlord or tenant or believes that the
rental housing does not comply with all applicable laws.
[(
c
)][[@Jl(ru
As a condition of receiving a license under this Chapter, a
landlord must agree to:
(1)
allow access to the Department for any inspection required under
this Chapter or Chapter 26; [[and]]
(2)
notify any affected tenant whose unit requires inspection at least
72 hours in advance of [[the]]
il
scheduled inspection under
subsection (a) of this Section[[.]]; and
Q1
when subiect to annual inspection under subsection Cb). provide
quarterly updates to the Director listing all maintenance requests
received by the landlord from tenants.
[(d)][[(fil]l(f}
If
an inspection indicates that any rental housing does not
comply with all applicable laws, the Director [[may]] must notify the
landlord in writing and order correction of each violation within a
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specified period of time.
If
the landlord does not correct the violation in
the specified period of time. the Director may:
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authorize a tenant to:
(A)
have the violation corrected by a licensed contractor
selected from a list maintained by the Director; and
!fil
deduct the reasonable cost of the repair. up to the amount of
one month's rent. from the tenant's rent or
ill
[[ffi]](g)
revoke the license or take other remedial action under Section 29-
25.
A landlord of licensed rental housing [[found in]] notified after
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initial inspection of a violation of applicable laws [[more than twice in
two consecutive years]]
must~
the
cost of the [[next inspection]] third.
and subsequent inspections. as [[determined
by
the Director]] established
in regulation, if the violation is not corrected by the second inspection.
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*
29-27. Contents of lease.
*
*
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[Each] [[A landlord must use the standard form lease]] [[and any appropriate
model optional provisions]] [[furnished
by
the Director for each]] Each lease for rental
housing located in the County[[!. Each lease]] must:
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*
(s)
landlord due
to~
*
*
Allow the tenant to terminate the lease upon 30 days' written notice to the
ill
ill
an involuntary change of employment from the Washington
metropolitan
area[[,]]~
the death of major wage
unemployment[[,]]~
earner[[,]]~
ru
ii}
the tenant or the tenant's child being a victim of domestic violence;
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ill
(fil
a landlord harassing the tenant or violating the tenant's privacy
rights;
the tenant or tenant's spouse being:
CA)
62 years of age or older;
no longer live independently; and
needing to move to a nursing home or other senior citizen
housing;
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(t)
(ID
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the tenant being incarcerated or declared mentally incompetent: or
other reasonable cause beyond the tenant's control.
The lease may provide that in the event of termination under this
provision, the tenant is liable for a reasonable termination charge not to
exceed the lower of one month's rent or actual damages sustained by the
landlord.
[[Allow the tenant to rescind the lease within two days after signing the
lease.
{ill]] Allow the tenant to
convert~
one-year lease
to~
two-year lease within 30
days after signing the lease, unless the one-year lease was offered by the
landlord consistent with subsection 29-28(c).
[[(y}]]ID)
Notify the tenant
that~
general information and assistance 1s available from the
Department
regardin~
(A)
questions about any addenda to the lease;
evictions [[are available from the Department.]]; and
ill
(ID
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the tenant is entitled to a hard copy of the Landlord-Tenant
Handbook as required under subsection 29-28(f) and that the
Landlord-Tenant Handbook is available on the County website.
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1i}
Permit the tenant to correct violations of applicable law in the unit and
deduct the reasonable cost of the repairs from the tenant's rent as
authorized by the Director under subsection 29-22(f).
[[OO)](w)
Contain a plain language summary of tenant rights and
responsibilities. in a form established by the Executive by method (2)
regulation that includes. at a minimum:
ill
the term of the lease:
the amount of the rent:
the date on which the rent is due:
the tenant's responsibility. if any. for utility costs:
a list of additional tenant rights and responsibilities under the lease:
and
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(ll
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!fil
information about services available to tenants from the
Department and the Commission.
29-28. Leasing requirements generally.
*
(
c)
and~
*
*
The landlord must offer each lease for an initial term of [2] two years,_
two-year term at each renewal, unless the landlord has reasonable
cause to offer a different [initial] term.
*
(2)
*
*
As used in this subsection, reasonable cause means a situation in
which a [[2-]] two-year lease would create undue hardship or
expense for a landlord. Reasonable cause includes the sale of a
dwelling unit if settlement [[if]] is likely to occur within [[2]] two
years, a bona fide contract to sell the dwelling unit within [[2]] two
years, or a planned conversion to a condominium or cooperative
within [[2]] two years.
If
the landlord claims reasonable cause
exists under this subsection, the landlord must attach to the lease a
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statement explaining the reasonable cause and advising the
prospective tenant of the tenant's right to challenge the cause by
filing a complaint with the Department.
(3)
The landlord must include the following statement in each lease,
or as an addendum to an oral lease, and assure that it is signed and
dated by the parties:
Montgomery County law requires each landlord to offer each
prospective tenant a lease for an initial term of [2] two years.1 and
~two-year
term at each renewal, unless the landlord has reasonable
cause to do otherwise. The tenant may accept or reject this offer.
Before signing this lease, the tenant confirms that (initial and date
one option):
(A)
The landlord offered me a [2] two-year lease term and I
accepted it.
(B)
The landlord offered me a [2] two-year lease term but I
rejected it.
(C)
The landlord gave me a statement:
(i)
explaining why the landlord had reasonable cause not
to offer me a [2] two-year lease term; and
(ii)
telling me that I can challenge the landlord's action
by filing a complaint with the Montgomery County
Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
*
ill
with
~
.9.QPY
*
*
At the beginning
of~
lease term, each landlord must provide each tenant
of the Landlord-Tenant Handbook [[furnished by the
Director,]] unless the tenant
signs~
statement
declining~
hard
.9.QPY
and
accepting referral to the Landlord-Tenant Handbook maintained on the
County website.
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Lg)
Unless the tenant is in breach of the lease. if a landlord does not intend to
offer an existing tenant a renewed lease term. the landlord must give the
tenant 60 days' notice of the landlord's intent to terminate tenancy at the
lease expiration.
*
29-30. Obligations of landlords.
*
*
(a)
Each landlord must reasonably provide for the maintenance of the health,
safety, and welfare of all tenants and all individuals properly on the
premises of rental housing. As part of this general obligation, each
landlord must:
*
*
*
For each unit in a building constructed before July
1.
1978. and for
which units are not individually metered. provide the tenant with
all information required under the Public Utilities Article of the
Marvland Code and applicable COMAR provisions governing:
(A)
electric and gas submeters; and
energy allocation systems.
!fil
LBJ
Display in the lobby. vestibule. rental office. or other prominent
public place on the premises. a sign in a form approved by the
Director that includes information in English. Spanish. French.
Chinese. Korean. Vietnamese. and other languages as determined
necessary by the Director. about:
(A)
filing a complaint under this Chapter; and
the retaliatory practices prohibited under this Chapter.
!fil
*
29-31. Landlord notice requirements.
*
*
(a)
Each landlord of an apartment complex in the County must:
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(1)
post [of] a durable notice in an accessible, conspicuous and
convenient place in each building to which the notice
or
applies[[,]]~
(2)
distribute [of] the notice directly to all tenants.
The notice must contain the name or title and telephone number of at least
one responsible representative of the building management who may be
reached at all times in an emergency.
*
29-33. Rights of tenants generally.
*
*
*
*
*
(b)
Tenants and tenant organizations have the right of free assembly in the
meeting rooms and other areas suitable for meetings within rental housing
during reasonable hours and upon reasonable notice to the landlord to
conduct tenant organization meetings. A landlord must not charge a
tenant organization or a group of tenants seeking to form a tenant
organization a fee for the first meeting of each month held to discuss
landlord-tenant issues. but [[The]] the landlord may charge a reasonable
fee for [[the use]] other uses of the meeting rooms or common areas[[,]],;
[[but the]] The charge must not exceed the regular schedule of fees for
the facility to other groups. The landlord may also impose reasonable
terms and conditions on the use of the meeting rooms or common areas
if those terms and conditions do not undermine the purposes of this
Section.
*
*
*
*
*
29-47. Commission action when violation found.
*
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(b)
If
the Commission or panel finds that a landlord has caused a defective
tenancy, it may award each party to the complaint one or more of the
following remedies:
*
(7)
An
order permitting
*
~
*
tenant to correct the condition that
constitutes the defective tenancy and abating the tenant's rent in an
amount equal to the reasonable cost incurred
.Qy
the tenant.
.{fil
After a retaliatory or illegal eviction as defined in Section 29-32,
reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the affected tenant in
defense of the retaliatory or illegal eviction. The award must not
exceed $1,000.00.
*
29-51. Rental housing data collection.
*
*
(a)
The County Executive must establish procedures to collect and analyze
housing data for rental dwelling units in the County, and must make
every effort to centralize the data collection functions to minimize the
burden for landlords.
(b)
The reporting process is mandatory for landlords of licensed rental
housing, including new dwelling units as they come on the market and
all vacant units.
(c)
The data [collection frequency] must be [on an annual basis] collected
annually.
(
d)
The Director must use a survey form for collecting data designed to
minimize the repeated reporting of unchanged information, while
maintaining an accurate data base.
(e)
The housing data collected must be used to [ascertain] measure the
supply and availability of rental housing, as well as other operating
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characteristics. Each landlord must provide the following [information
as requested by] to the County:
(1) · The location of [the] each rental facility,_ including the zip code;
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
Structure type;
Year built;
Distribution of units by standard bedroom sizes;
The number of units by bedroom size that were re-rented during
the month;
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
The number of vacant days applicable to those units;
The rent charged for each rental unit;
The rent charged for each re-rented unit before vacancy; and
The new turnover rent charged for each re-rented unit.
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*
(i)
*
*
The Director is primarily responsible for controlling rental housing data
surveys for the County. The Director must share this information with
other governmental agencies that need it without invading individual
privacy. In this regard, the Director must coordinate survey activities
with other County departments, and make available to the departments
the results of all surveys in accordance with [executive] applicable
procedure.
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G)
The Director must publish, unless the publication is prohibited under
State law, the information collected in the rental housing data survey
on the County website, including
~
table listing all rental housing
consisting of two or more dwelling units [[and the average rent increase
for each unit]] by unit type and building type.
[[.Qy
the following
categories:
ill
100 percent or less of the applicable rent increase guideline;
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(
c)
ill
ill
.(±}
greater than 100 percent,
!!P
to 125 percent of the applicable rent
increase guideline;
greater than 125 percent,
!!P
to 150 percent of the applicable rent
increase guideline; and
greater than 150 percent of the applicable rent mcrease
guideline.]]
.(kl
Any landlord who violates any provision of this Section is liable for
payment of a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each
violation.
29-53. Voluntary rent guidelines; review of rent increases.
(a)
The County Executive must issue annual voluntary rent increase
guidelines not later than March 1 of each year. The Executive must
publish the guidelines in the County Register and on the County
website.
(b)
The guidelines must be based on the increase or decrease in the
[residential rent component of the] residential rent component of the
Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the Washington-
Baltimore metropolitan area, or any successor index, for the preceding
calendar year. unless an alternative standard better reflecting the costs
of rental housing in the County is established by regulation.
The Department should encourage landlords to hold rent increases at
the lowest level possible.
The Department may review any rent
increase that appears to be excessive and encourage the landlord to
reduce, modify, or postpone the increase. [[The Department must
review all rent increases that are more than 100 percent of the
applicable rent increase guideline issued under subsection
.(fil
to
recognize patterns of increases that particularly harm tenants.]]
29-54. Rent adjustments; notice requirements.
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(a)
Alandlordmustnotincreasetherentuntil [[atleasttwo]] [2] [[months]]
90 days after the landlord gives the tenant written notice of the increase.
[[A landlord must give the tenant at least three months written notice
before an increase of more than 100 percent of the rent increase
guidelines.)) A landlord must not impose more than one rent increase
on a tenant in any 12-month period. Each written rent increase notice
must contain the following information:
( 1)
The amount of monthly rent immediately preceding the effective
date of the proposed increase (old rent), the amount of monthly
rent proposed immediately after the rent increase takes effect
(new rent), and the percentage increase of monthly rent.
(2)
(3)
The effective date of the proposed increase.
The applicable rent increase guideline issued under Section 29-
53.
(4)
A notice that the tenant may ask the Department to review any
rent increase that the tenant considers excessive.
( 5)
Other information that the landlord deems useful in explaining
the rent increase.
An otherwise valid notice of a rent increase is not invalid because the
notice contained an incorrect rent increase guideline number if the
landlord reasonably believed that the number was correct.
*
.(ill
*
*
~
[[29-55.)) [[Rights of tenants facing rent increases.
A tenant may ask the Department to confirm that
complies with this Article.
rent increase
.{hl
When~
rent increase exceeds the applicable
guideline,~
tenant:
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ill
may continue occupancy for
!!12.
to two months after the lease
term expires on £! month-to-month basis at the current pre-
increase rent; and
ill
must give at least
.li
days' notice to the landlord before vacating
the premises.
29-56.]] [[Rent surcharges prohibited.
A landlord must not charge more than the rent]] [[charged]] [[offered for the]]
[[prior]] [[renewed lease term when£! tenant continues occupancy on£! month-to-
month basis.]]
[Sec. 29-55] [[Sec. 29-57]] Sec. 29-55 - 29-65 Reserved.
.
Sec. 2. Two-year intensive insnection program.
W
The Director must. by July
1.
2019. inspect a sample of each
multifamily rental property for which a certificate of occupancy was
issued before January
1.
2015.
au
The Director must provide to the Council. by Januarv 15. 2017. a plan
to inspect rental housing under subsection (a) that includes:
ill
ill
ill
a means of prioritizing inspections;
standardized inspections for all units; and
an estimate of the cost for conducting the inspections.
Sec. 3. Transition.
W
The [[standard form lease]] plain language summarv required under
Section 29-27. as amended in Section
1.
must be [[used for]] included
with all leases entered into or renewed after the effective date of the
regulation establishing the [[standard form lease]] form of the plain
language summary.
au
The requirement that landlords provide certain information concerning
electric and gas utility billing under Section 29-30. as amended in
Section 1. takes effect 180 days after this Act becomes law.
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 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
BILLN0.19-15
409
410
411
412
Approved:
~I
2.aJt.,
Date
Approved:
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
413
414
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
415
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