Maryland Rental Property Owners: URGENT ACTION NEEDED

2/28/17 8:39 AM Brian Wojcik Legislative Topics, Maryland Rental Property Owners

Two proposed pieces of legislation negatively affecting Maryland Rental Property Owners: HB1346 + HB1487

On Tuesday, March 7th, a hearing will be held for two new legislative bills which greatly impact Maryland Rental Property Owners. Your voice needs to be added to the conversation! This petition will be submitted as testimony by Maryland Multi-Housing Association.

Why should you care about these proposed pieces of legislation?

It’s simple. They severely limit a landlord’s ability to recover rent, utilities, and other damages through the Failure-to-Pay-Rent process. While rental owners still have to cover operating expenses (i.e. mortgage, water), the proposed legislation creates more opportunity for unwarranted delays within the court before rent is paid to the owner.

What can you do about it? 

Please sign and share this petition to show your opposition to HB1346, which seeks to: 

  • Define rent only as fixed and periodic payments; and 
  • Explicitly prohibit a landlord from collecting on any additional payments due from the tenant as written in the lease.

Petition - Maryland Rental Property Owners: URGENT ACTION NEEDED! - GoPetition

Therefore, it will: 

  • Remove a landlord's ability to collect on utility bills, environmental citations, damages, or or charges authorized in the lease when filing Failure to Pay Rent (FTPR) cases in Rent Court;
  • Force landlords to utilize the civil court for any charge other than rent, which is cost prohibitive and more time consuming;
  • Require landlords to charge a fixed fee for variable expenses, such as water and therefore add risk of possible abuse; and
  • Have unintended consequences (listed in the petition) to the industry.

Our view is:
Rent should be defined as what’s written in a signed lease contract between two responsible parties (so long as it doesn’t violate other statutes).

Read complete bill text


Other concern: House Bill 1487

We now have some concern with HB1487. We are not completely opposing this bill, as it has some merit as a result of consensus work done in the Summer Study Work Group. However, there was no agreement on the definition of rent, and the last minute introduction of HB1346 undermines the cooperative spirit of this consensus bill. Therefore we are circumspect to fully support and endorse this bill. It’s important to be aware of it.

  • What we agree with:
    • Creating a statute of limitations of one year in rent court for unpaid rent; 
    • Updating period of time for rent cases to be heard from 5 days to 14 days (to align the law with reality); 
    • Requiring the Sheriff's office to refund fees if postings are untimely; and 
    • Allowing cases be dismissed for MDE non-compliance, but not dismissing cases for clerical errors, or unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

  • Our concern with this bill:
    • Considering how HB1346 was introduced, there is some concern about adding discovery in the Rent Court process. It can prolong the trial, which further encourages the small business landlord to settle for sums less than owed (just to offset losses and cover operating expenses).

Read complete bill text

Ways to Get Involved: 

    Please sign and share this petition to show your opposition in advance of the March 7th hearing. We need a collective voice in this issue!

    Stay on top of this and other issues affecting you by joining Landlord411, our advocacy group dedicated to small business and independent landlords. Our mission is to proactively empower small business and independent landlords through education, legal compliance and risk mitigation.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at 
Brian Wojcik

Written by Brian Wojcik