Agenda Item 11
June 13, 2017
Public Hearing
MEMORANDUM
June
9,
2017
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
,
I
Josh Hamlin,
Legislative
Attome{tf
~
L
Public Hearing:
Expedited Bill 17-17, Landlord -Tenant Relations - Duties of
Director-Licensing of Rental Housing-Fees
Expedited Bill 17-17, Landlord - Tenant Relations - Licensing of Rental Housing - Fees -
Amount, sponsored by Lead Sponsors Council President Berliner and Councilmember Eirich, was
introduced on May 16, 2017. Action is tentatively scheduled for June 20.
On Monday, May 15, the Council considered whether to add two positions in the Office of
Consumer Protection (OCP) to provide tenant advocacy services, as proposed by Council President
Berliner, and Councilmembers Eirich and Bucker. Under the proposal, the positions would have
been funded by a $3 increase in the rental housing license fee for multi-family units (currently
$41), which would yield about $210,000. A memorandum from the proposers is at ©4-5. While
the Council ultimately decided not to add the proposed new OCP positions in the FYI 8 budget,
there was support for the proposition that additional tenant advocacy services should be provided.
Expedited Bill 17-17 would require the Director of the Department of Housing and Community
Affairs to "provide advocacy services and assistance to tenants in relation to their rights" under
Chapter 29, Landlord-Tenant Relations. Also, current law provides that rental housing license fees
are set by method (3) regulation. This Bill would set the amounts of the annual license fees per
dwelling unit for each class of rental housing in the County Code, and provide the fees may be set
at higher amounts by method (3) regulation. The fees will include the $3 increase that was part of
the proposal to provide tenant advocacy services through OCP,
This packet contains:
Expedited Bill 17-17
Legislative Request Report
Councilmembers' memorandum
F:\LA W\BILLS\1717 Landlord Tenant Relations-Duties OfDirector\PH Memo.Docx
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Expedited Bill No .
..,_17'---'-17'-------
Concerning: Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Duties of Director - Licensing of
Rental Housing - Fees
Draft No. _3_
Revised:
05/15/2017
Introduced:
May
16. 2017
Expires:
November
16. 2018
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: ___,_,_N-=on-=e=---------
Ch. _ _ , Laws of Mont. Co. _ _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsors: Council President Berliner and Councilmember Elrich
AN EXPEDITED ACT
to:
(1) require the Director of Housing and Community Affairs to provide certain advocacy
services and assistance to tenants;
(2) set the amount of the annual license fee per dwelling unit for each class of rental
housing; and
(3) generally amend the law related to landlord-tenant relations.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 29, Landlord-Tenant Relations
Sections 29-6 and 29-20
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deleted.from 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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EXPEDITED BILL NO.
17-17
1
Sec.
1.
Sections 29-6 and 29-20 are amended 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:
*
*
2
3
4
5
6
7
*
ill
The Director must provide advocacy services and assistance to tenants in
relation to their rights under this Chapter.
*
8
*
*
9
1
o
11
29-20. Fees.
[The County Executive must establish an annual license fee per dwelling unit
for each class of rental housing license by regulation under method (3) in an amount
sufficient to pay the costs of administering this Chapter.] The annual license fee per
dwelling unit is:
(a)
for~ Class
1
multi-family rental facility license:
(1)
$44.00 per dwelling unit in an apartment complex or an accessory
apartment approved
by
special exception; and
12
13
14
15
16
17
(2)
(hl
$59.00 per dwelling unit for all others;
18
for~ Class
2
single-family rental facility license, $101.00 per dwelling
unit-
=
19
20
21
22
(£}
for~ Class
J
accessory apartment license $101.00 per unit.
The Executive may establish~ higher annual fee
by
method
ill
regulation
in
an amount
sufficient to
rn
the costs of administering this Chapter,
Sec. 2. Expedited Effective Date.
The Council declares that this legislation 1s necessary for the immediate
protection of the public interest. This Act takes effect on July 1, 2017.
23
24
25
0
f:\law\bills\1717 landlord tenant relations-duties of director\bill
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EXPEDITED BILL
No. 17-17
26
27
Approved:
Roger Berliner, President, County Council
Date
28
29
Approved:
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
30
Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
31
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
f:\law\bills\1717 landlord tenant relations-duties of director\bill
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Expedited Bill 17-17
Landlord-Tenant Relations
-
Duties of Director
-
Licensing of Rental Housing-Fees
DESCRIPTION:
Require the Director of DHCA to provide certain advocacy services
and assistance to tenants; set the amounts of the annual license fees per
dwelling unit for each class of rental housing in the County Code; and
provide the fees may be set at higher amounts by method (3)
regulation.
Additional advocacy services and assistance to tenants is necessary.
Require, and fund, additional tenant advocacy services to be delivered
byDHCA.
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
NIA
PROBLEM:
GOALSAND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Josh Hamlin, Legislative Attorney
To
be researched.
NIA
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
ROCKVILLE,
MARYLAND
'
I
'
,
.
ROGER BERLINER
COUNCIL PRESIDENT
DISTRICT l
CHAIRMAN
TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE
ENERGY
&
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
MEMORANDUM
April 13, 2017
TO:
Council Colleagues
Roger Berliner, Council President
Marc Elrich, Chair, Public Safety Committee
Tom Hucker, Councilmember
Tenant Advocate Services in the Office of Consumer Protection
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Last November, the Council took significant steps to improve conditions for tenants through the .
enactment of Bill 19-I
5, Landlord-Tenant Relations -Licensing ofRental Housing- Landlord Tenant
Obligations.
The enhancements to the requirements for inspections and the increased resources to the
Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) should keep poor maintenance and repairs from
languishing and the requirement for a lease summary should help improve tenants' understanding of their
rights and responsibilities.
During the Council worksession on Bill 19-15, we stated our interest in providing tenant advocacy
services for our residents. While DHCA administers the Landlord-Tenant program and the Commis$ion
on Landlord-Tenant Affairs with a goal of evenly addressing the concerns of landlords and tenants, we
believe that some tenants view the Landlord-Tenant program
as
too closely
tied
to
landlords and do not
come forward with questions or seeking the advice they need, particularly when trying to decide whether
to
file a formal complaint.
We are recommending that the Council add two new positions
to
the Office of Consumer
Protection (OCP) to provide tenant advocacy services. We are recommending one of these positions be
an attorney so that tenants can obtain both general consumer assistance and legal advice regarding
tenants' rights under Montgomery County law. The District of Columbia has a robust Office of the
Tenant Advocate that "advises tenants on resolving disputes with landlords, identifies legal issues and the
rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and provides legal and technical assistance for further
action such as filing tenant petitions." Their attorneys may represent clients in certain cases but also refer
clients to pro bono legal services. They provide advice in both individual and group settings. They assist
tenants in completing petitions and drafting court documents.
STEI.LA
B.
WERNst OFFICE
BUILDING •
100
MARYIANO AVENUE,
6TH FLOOR, ROCKVII..Lf,
MARYLAND
20850
2'I0-7n-7828
OR
240-m-7900, TTY 240-n7-7914, FAX 240-m-7989
WWW.MONTGOMERYCOUNTYMD.GOV
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In 2010, the Tenants Work Group recommended that the County "provide leadership
in
forming a
Tenant Advocacy structure funded by the landlord-tenant fee." While the Work Group recommended an
independent office, we are recommending that these positions work within the Office of Consumer
Protection.
We do not view this recommendation as inconsistent with the responsibilities DHCA has under
Chapter 29 of the County Code, but rather as a complement to them. DHCA remains responsible for
handling and resolving complaints. Tenant outreach, education, and tenant association organizing will
continue to be performed ~y non-profit partners. OCP exists to advocate for our residents. For example,
OCP today provides patient advocacy services for the EMS Insurance Reimbursement Program.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services does an excellent job of administering the billing
program, yet it is important for residents to know that they have a resource independent from MCFRS to
address questions, concerns, and billing complaints. We expect the tenant advocates within OCP will
work with DHCA to resolve complaints and problems and more tenants will access services because they
may speak with advocates that have independence and a focus on tenants.
We are recommending a $3 increase to the Landlord-Tenant license fee for multi-family units
(currently $41), which will yield about $210,000 for this initiative.
The Public Safety Committee will discuss this proposal during its worksession on the Office of
Consumer Affairs operating budget on Monday, April
J'71h.
(l)