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Rental Housing Innovation can solve the Affordable Housing dilemma

 

An open letter to Ben Carson of HUD, Linda McMahon from the SBA, and President Donald Trump (who should know a thing or two about housing).

If you like what you read below, please support the effort. This letter has been commissioned in petition form and there is a call to action under the letter to sign the petition.

Rent Transparency Bill Needs your Support

Landlords, we have an opportunity to demonstrate support for an important legislative bill that impacts all of us.

Tenant advocates are showing up in droves to oppose Senate Bill 493. We need your support to ensure this bill passes!

Many of us landlords have experienced losses as a result of the Felicia Locket vs. Blue Ocean Case. Because of that case, most judges are not allowing utilities to be included in Rent Court cases.  Because "rent" has not been defined by the legislature,  landlords who request that utilities be included, such as unpaid water bills,   are subject to each judge's interpretation of the case.

Why do we need Senate Bill 493 to pass?

  • to create consistency and clarity statewide among District Court Judges; and
  • to allow the terms of a lease, as signed by both the Landlord and Tenant ,be enforced; and
  • to allow for unpaid utilities to be included in Rent Court filings.

Baltimore City Licensing for One and Two-Unit Rental Properties

Baltimore City County Council Bill 18-0185: 

On Monday, January 22nd, the Baltimore City Council introduced a licensing bill that has been in the works for some time. Some may recall an article I wrote last year on the topic. Mounting mayoral political pressure and a March 2017 report by the Center of Community Progress  were catalysts for what was an inevitable rental regulation strategy for the city - a licensing bill for one and two-unit rentals. It wasn't a question of if, but when.  The City Housing and Community Development Leadership Team deserve a ton of credit for their outreach and overriding goal to be inclusive in their aim to create responsible legislation.

As a member of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association, and a voice for the small business and independent landlord, there were two occasions  to meet in person and help give this bill some shape. There was also an opportunity to provide feedback on the drafts. Many suggested elements have been incorporated in some way, shape or form. The language drafting and thoughtfulness that went into creating   Bill 18-0185  was a measured and methodical approach in an attempt to create responsible legislation.

Is it without concerns? No. However, it could be a lot worse.

Can I include water bills in my rent court eviction filing?

One of the top questions I receive from do-it-yourself landlords is:
“Can I include water bills in my rent court eviction filing if the tenant signed a lease proving they are responsible for paying for water consumption?”

The short answer is, it usually depends on the judge.

Many judges have been dismissing cases that include values other than rent or late charges, regardless of what is stated in the lease.

UPDATE: Baltimore City Bill 17-0113

Many thanks to everyone who voiced your opposition to potentially unconstitutional legislation introduced last month by the Baltimore City Council. I am happy to report that Baltimore City Bill 17-0113 has been placed "on hold," which I believe is a result of collective efforts by those who quickly stepped up in opposition. I can't thank you enough for joining the conversation and being a part of the collective voice for do-it-yourself landlords.

Baltimore City (and Maryland) Landlords: URGENT ACTION NEEDED

Baltimore City Council has overstepped their legal reach by introducing potentially Unconstitutional legislation.

On Monday, August 14th, the City Council introduced a bill that will be devastating to Baltimore City Landlords. And as with most legislation, if passed, it can be a catalyst for adoption into surrounding counties, and potentially the state. Your voice needs to be added to the conversation!

Understanding the Eviction Process

Want to avoid losing money and guard yourself against professional tenants who can use the eviction process against you? Check out the slideshow below, recently presented by Brian Wojcik, CEO of diyrealty.co, and Revee Walters of Offit Kurman to Meetup group Landlord411

What happens in Rent Court?

Housing matters between landlords and tenants are usually heard by the District Court, in a special Rent Court docket. Baltimore created the nation’s first Rent Court to hear housing cases between landlords and tenants. On a typical day, 800-1,000 cases are heard. In some counties, the pace at which housing cases are heard can be fast, depending on the whether or not the landlord and/or tenant appears and evidence (or lack thereof) presented.

How to properly prepare my eviction case to avoid dismissal

Years of landlord and property management experience fed my desire to create Rent Court Manager. I understand  the hassle of having to take your tenants to court - the days lost at the courthouse and the hours spent trying to track down the status of a case. And let’s not forget the lost rent that quickly racks up for each day in the process ($40/day on average). I wanted to make it simple for the do-it-yourself landlord or property manager to file an eviction. And more importantly, have the confidence that they had “checked all the boxes” and were properly prepared in court.

Does my property needs to be registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)?

 If your rental property was built before 1978, it must be registered, and you will be required to distribute specific educational materials to your tenants and meet specific lead paint risk reduction standards at certain triggering events.