A bill to freeze rent increases in Montgomery County during the COVID-19 emergency passed the County Council unanimously on Thursday. Bill 18-20 was supported by the Renter's Alliance and the local labor movement. "Protecting renters and keeping rental housing affordable and stable is always critical for working families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Gino Renne, president of UFCW Local 1994, which represents more than 8,000 county employees. "The passage of Montgomery County's Bill 18-20 requiring landlords to keep rent increases to the county guidelines will help ensure that our workers who live in rental housing won't be prompted to move when staying at home and social distancing remain critical to public health." The bill would still allow landlords to charge late fees. Councilmember Tom Hucker also offered an amendment that codifies the County's voluntary Rent Increase Guidelines to cap rent increases at 2.6% and would extend the provisions of this measure for 180 days after the emergency has been lifted.
- David Stephen