Action Alert: Support Tenant Protections in Rent Court Today!

There are two bills that will be heard in Annapolis by the Environment and Transportation Committee on March 7 at 1:00 PM, that would introduce additional protection for tenants. These bills are important to creating an equitable legal playing field for tenants in rent court: HB1346, introduced by Delegate Lafferty (D-District 42A) defines “rent” as Read more about Action Alert: Support Tenant Protections in Rent Court Today![…]

Justice for Neighbors in Southwest Baltimore

In the course of speaking to community groups, the issue of nuisance properties comes up a lot. Sometimes the complaints are fairly minor — trash, noise, etc., and sometimes the complaints turn into a story of a community being terrorized by the residents of one property, one with an owner or landlord who does nothing Read more about Justice for Neighbors in Southwest Baltimore[…]

Photo of the US Capitol

Moderate Income Housing Tax Credit: Support

We’ve long been champions for being proactive through public policy that can help to prevent the downward financial spiral faced by so many middle-income families across our city, and have found that high rental housing costs in the Baltimore metro region are the the reason why so many people are having difficulty getting a handle Read more about Moderate Income Housing Tax Credit: Support[…]

Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit: Deadline September 1

The Renters’ Tax Credit is currently only available to low-income and/or senior renters.  However, our legislators did do something positive on this front during this year’s legislative session — the credit has been increased from $750 to $1000. HB340 was signed into law by Governor Hogan in May. If you think you might qualify for Read more about Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit: Deadline September 1[…]

Putting Out the Affordable Housing Fire

The Problem Baltimore’s current affordable housing crisis is yet another fire our government has to put out — despite it smoldering for years, turning into a full blaze right around the same time as the housing bubble and subsequent “bust”, leaving thousands in foreclosure and unable to afford steadily rising rents. Many cities are faced Read more about Putting Out the Affordable Housing Fire[…]

Protecting the Rights of Tenants: HB 1059 and HB 1060: SUPPORT

For good tenants, sometimes getting your security deposit back at the end of a lease is the worst part about being a renter. Sometimes tenants never get their security deposit back, and many people have no idea this is governed by Maryland law. Maryland House Bill 1059 and House Bill 1060 would require language to Read more about Protecting the Rights of Tenants: HB 1059 and HB 1060: SUPPORT[…]

SB0182 – Public Safety – Rental Dwelling Units – Carbon Monoxide Alarms: SUPPORT

Carbon monoxide kills far too many people each year, usually as a result of alternate heat sources by people who cannot afford to adequately heat their homes in the winter. SB0182 would mandate that all rental properties in Maryland have carbon monoxide alarms installed. You can read the text of SB0182 here. (Link opens a Read more about SB0182 – Public Safety – Rental Dwelling Units – Carbon Monoxide Alarms: SUPPORT[…]

Support Good Development Near Morgan State: Sign the Petition

If you’ve ever been to Morgan State University’s campus in Baltimore, one of the first things you notice is the lack of retail nearby. Normally a university campus would be surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, etc. similar to the Johns Hopkins campus in Charles Village. There is a shopping center just off Morgan’s campus — Read more about Support Good Development Near Morgan State: Sign the Petition[…]

Send a Strong Message to the Mayor and City Council Today: Paul Graziano Must Go

Paul Graziano, head of Baltimore City’s Housing Authority has been the subject of scandals over the years, whether personally, or through the agency he runs: Drunken incidents in bars, involving homophobic slurs Refusal to pay lead paint settlements to families whose children were poisoned in HABC-owned homes Discrimination against people with disabilities (link opens a Read more about Send a Strong Message to the Mayor and City Council Today: Paul Graziano Must Go[…]

Baltimore County Residents: Support County Bill 58-15

Sponsored By: Councilman David Marks, District 5 Bill Information: This bill would impose a penalty on property owners who have repeatedly allowed their tenants to hold unruly social gatherings on their premises, particularly those that involve underage drinking. Previously the law applied to homeowners, but would now include landlords and property management companies. You can Read more about Baltimore County Residents: Support County Bill 58-15[…]

Renters Tax Credit Deadline: September 1

If you area renter and are low-income, a senior citizen, or disabled, you may qualify for a $750 credit on your Maryland income taxes. Go here for more information and to see income guidelines. You can also download the form here. (Link opens a PDF.) The deadline for filing is September 1 — if you’re Read more about Renters Tax Credit Deadline: September 1[…]

“My Landlord Won’t Make Repairs, Now What?”

I get a lot of emails from tenants who are living in unimaginable circumstances. No heat or hot water in the winter, basements and walls covered in black mold, flooded basements, even a collapsed ceiling or two. Their circumstances vary, but the question at the end of the email is generally the same:  “What can Read more about “My Landlord Won’t Make Repairs, Now What?”[…]

Water, Water, Everywhere

Baltimore City is getting ready to shut off the water of 25,000 people across the city, if the water bill is two months overdue. According to one article, at least one third of those who will lose water are 369 businesses that account for $15,000,000 of lost revenue, and the rest are homeowners and tenants. Read more about Water, Water, Everywhere[…]

More on Low Wages and the High Cost of Housing in Baltimore

MIT has a wonderful online resource that calculates a living wage vs. poverty wages, and it reinforces the data I posted in my previous post on salaries and the high cost of living in Baltimore City. Some highlights, assuming a household of one adult and one child: Only nine of the typical wage job categories Read more about More on Low Wages and the High Cost of Housing in Baltimore[…]

The Other Side of the Affordable Housing Coin: Jobs and Wages

Housing affordability, particularly for median income workers, has become a much-talked about topic of late. Rising rents have forced a large segment of city residents to spend well over 30% of their net monthly income on shelter costs, which can lead to severe financial trauma later on. One of the reasons why city residents are Read more about The Other Side of the Affordable Housing Coin: Jobs and Wages[…]

Homestead Tax Credit: Not for Rentals

The State of Maryland has a tax credit that’s available to homeowners, to offset the high property taxes — this credit is for owner-occupied dwellings only, and not to be used for rental properties where the homeowner does not reside. If you move away, and wish to rent out your property instead of selling it, Read more about Homestead Tax Credit: Not for Rentals[…]

Maryland lead program opens registration for rental properties built before 1978

Currently, Maryland law requires rental properties built before 1950 to be registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment, and comply with risk reduction standards.  As of January 2015, all rental properties built before 1978 will now have to be registered. This change in the law has the potential to greatly reduce the number of Read more about Maryland lead program opens registration for rental properties built before 1978[…]

The Time for Affordable Housing is NOW.

Millions of Americans are paying more than 30% of their net monthly income for housing costs, resulting in overburdened households in danger of falling into poverty, if they’re not there already. In the Baltimore region, according to the new report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, almost 50% of Read more about The Time for Affordable Housing is NOW.[…]

A Plan for Affordable Housing in Baltimore

We all know there’s a housing problem in Baltimore City — it’s becoming increasingly difficult for middle-income renters to find housing that’s both safe and affordable, and nobody should have to make that choice.  With a median income of only $40,0001, Baltimore is quickly losing a solid middle-class, and is becoming a city of rich Read more about A Plan for Affordable Housing in Baltimore[…]

Support HB1143 / SB799 and Prevent Landlord Retaliation

Bill Information: Sponsored by Delegates Frush, Braveboy, Bobo, Fraser-Hidalgo, Glenn, and Hucker, HB1143  and SB799 (sponsored by Senators Ramirez, Forehand, and Manno) would prevent a landlord from refusing to renew a tenant’s lease if the tenant complained about unsafe conditions in the home. Why This Bill is Important:  Tenants have a right to live in Read more about Support HB1143 / SB799 and Prevent Landlord Retaliation[…]