A Victory for Renters and Housing Warriors in Maryland

Annapolis, MD – Maryland marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of housing justice as the (SB 946 / HB 1117) Tenant Safety Act, sponsored by Delegate Vaughn Stewart and Senator Ariana Kelly passes in the Maryland General Assembly and goes to Governor Wes Moore’s desk. This bill makes the “rent escrow” process more accessible to renters and groups of renters who seek to hold their landlords accountable for terrible conditions of disrepair that threaten life, health, or safety. Landlords who fail to make repairs will face significant financial penalties. 

“This win represents a beacon of hope and aims to empower tenants and rebalance the scales in favor of those who too often bear the weight of poor living conditions and exorbitant rents from their slumlords,” said Matan Zimer, representative of the Renters United Maryland, a coalition of advocates for renters and for safe, affordable rental housing. “The Tenant Safety Act is a critical step forward in addressing the stark disparities between powerful slumlords and vulnerable tenants. Too many Marylanders have endured substandard living conditions, from mold-infested apartments to broken plumbing, while facing relentless rent hikes that push them to the verge of homelessness. With the passage of SB 946 / HB 1117 Tenant Safety Act, Maryland is standing against such injustices.”

“As a proud Mexican immigrant and long-standing member of CASA, residing in Montgomery County as a renter for over 25 years, I cannot overstate the significance of being able to hold landlords accountable for neglecting health hazardous conditions. The ability to protect good-standing tenants from unjust evictions is not just a legal safeguard but a moral imperative. Throughout my lifetime as a renter, I’ve witnessed rent prices skyrocket while tenant protections have dwindled, creating profound instability for working-class families like mine. The passage of measures prioritizing tenant safety and stability is not merely a legislative victory; it’s a beacon of hope for countless families striving for dignity and security in their homes,” said Maria Enriquez, a resident in District 20, Montgomery County.

“In the passage of the Tenant Safety Act from the Maryland General Assembly, we herald a new era of collective empowerment for tenants across our state. Despite our best efforts within the rent escrow system, too many of our neighbors faced insurmountable barriers in holding negligent landlords to account. With the Tenant Safety Act, we unite in a common cause, pooling our resources and strength to demand safe and dignified living conditions. This revolutionary approach ensures that no one, especially seniors like myself, is left to suffer alone in the face of mold, faulty plumbing, inadequate heating, or rodent infestations. Together, we declare that every tenant’s well-being is non-negotiable, and every landlord’s duty to provide safe housing is inviolable,” said Sharon Little John, a resident in District 17, Montgomery County.


Renters United Maryland is a coalition of advocates for renters and for safe, affordable rental housing. Our member organizations include tenant organizers, legal services providers, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups working together to make stable housing a reality through legislative advocacy. We are leading the charge against housing insecurity.