The Baltimore City Council on Monday evening passed legislation to freeze residential rents for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
If it’s signed into law by Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young (D), the Baltimore City COVID-19 Renter Relief Act will prohibit landlords from announcing rent increases during the declared state of emergency and for the 90-day period after the state of emergency is lifted. The legislation would also prohibit fees for late payment or no payment of rent, as well as all rent increases scheduled to take place during the state of emergency.
“COVID-19 continues to have a significantly detrimental impact on our residents,” said City Council President Brandon M. Scott (D), the bill’s lead sponsor. “While many are struggling to make ends meet, rent increases will be one less thing that our residents will have to worry about during this crisis.”
Last month, Scott introduced a resolution that called on the state to declare a moratorium on rent increases for the duration of the state of emergency. He also introduced a resolution calling on Congress to create a direct Rental Housing Assistance fund to assist residents, protect landlords, and help stabilize communities.