Montgomery County, MD — In a 7-4 vote, the Montgomery County Council passes Bill 15-23, a rent stabilization bill that caps dramatic rent hikes and protects approximately 40 percent of the county’s population, the 400,000 Montgomery residents who live in rental properties. The council hearing room was filled with Montgomery County community residents who supported this momentous legislation.

When signed into law by County Executive Marc Elrich, Bill 15-23 will limit rent increases to 3 percent plus the measure of inflation consumer price index (CPI), or 6 percent, whichever is lower. Newly built rental units would be exempt from the restrictions for 23 years. Montgomery County joins Prince George’s County, Mount Rainier, Takoma Park, Hyattsville, and others in offering rent stabilization legislation aimed at protecting tenants from skyrocketing rents. When this bill becomes law, they won’t be limited on the kinds of rent increases they can place; they will also be required not to use eviction to avoid compliance.

The council also amended the bill to allow fees to be regulated, closing the loop on a vehicle that unscrupulous landlords have used to escape rent caps in other places. A number of weakening amendments were also rejected in today’s council vote.

Through the HOME Act Coalition, renters who faced extreme rent increases activated to advocate for rent stabilization. Among the powerful testimonies in favor of Bill 15-23 was Jeniffer Ventura who lives with her family in Silver Spring as she finishes a bachelor’s degree. Her family pays $1,700 in rent every month. “My home is here. I hope to live in Montgomery County for years and years to come. As a college student I see how my parents spend a lot of money on rent. With rent stabilization, we can use our resources on other things like food and education. With the passage of this bill, a future in Montgomery County is possible.”

“Everyone deserves a place to live that they can afford. This rent stabilization bill is a victory for every renter who shared their voice on behalf of the 400,000 renters in Montgomery County. Montgomery County has limited housing, which used to mean landlords had unfettered power to increase rents as they pleased. Now the power is back in the hands of renters!”

CASA celebrates the seven members of the Montgomery Council who voted for passage, President Evan Glass and Councilmembers Natali Fani-González, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz, Kristin Mink, Laurie-Anne Sayles, and Kate Stewart. The amendment wins today were powerfully led by Councilmembers Fani-Gonzalez, Stewart, and Mink.

“Income has not kept pace with rising rent costs, but this bill helps empower renters and their families to afford their homes and thrive in Montgomery County. Families deserve to stay in Montgomery County where they call home, and now they will be,” said Councilmember Natali Fani-González.

“This was a complex bill and one that we will continue to monitor. It is essential to ensure renters and landlords have predictable, safe, and secure housing and rent increases… We will continue to push for new development in our county for a greater housing supply as well as furthering tenant protections for all,” said Councilmember Kate Stewart.

“This victory today would not have happened without the work of all the coalition groups, the community groups, and unions – without them this would not have happened. Together we wrote a strong bill that is going to benefit hundreds of thousands in the county,” said Councilmember Kristin Mink.

“I’m thankful for the community members and organizations that helped organize renters and worked with us to draft this bill. That’s going to provide meaningful life changing protection for hundreds of thousands of MoCo rents allowing them to stay in their homes,” said Councilmember Will Jawando.

“Housing should not be a money-making business that sucks renters dry. Montgomery County stood up to say YES to renters rights in this historic moment. From Prince George’s County to Montgomery County, housing justice is top of mind with Marylanders. We aim for rent stabilization to be contagious across the state,” closed Gustavo Torres, CASA executive director.