Md. Lawmakers Look to Crackdown on College House Parties

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Towson students who’ve been caught hosting parties near the university has led to a bill being put in place to crack down on both renters and landlords, who will be held accountable if it passes.

The bill was put in a place a year ago to help deal with wild parties. Lawmakers now want to expand to more areas like Towson Park, Rodgers Forge, Riderwood Hills and the Penthouse Condominiums, but not every landlord is on board.

“People are getting it, they understand there are higher penalties now,” said Councilman David Marks of district five in Baltimore County.

A focus Councilman Marks said is specifically on the Towson and UMBC area.

“We didn’t want this to be a county wide program, we really wanted to deal with problems that are unique to the Towson area,” said Marks. “I think the reaction will be very positive, there are protections built in this for both landlords and students.”

County officials say since the program was put into place, statistics show a decline in resident complaints about student behavior.

“Students are more than welcomed in our neighborhood,” said Dave Riley, President of the Knollwood Association. “This is a good tool for community to maintain the balance and quality of life here. I think the program has been great for our community and Towson University has been tremendously responsible to communities concerns and they’ve been a true partner throughout this. I think they should be applauded for their efforts.”

But landlords like Ben Frederick said it’s outrageous they’re being held responsible. “How they live whether they’re clean or dirty, whether they have friends or don’t have friends over, I have no control over it. It started with something very close to Towson University, now it’s creeping to other neighborhoods.”

Councilman Marks added there’s been only 19 citations since the program went into effect, compared to dozens before. He said a police officer has the authority to not issue any citation and higher penalties only kick in if you have multiple offenses.

Depending on whether it’s a first violation, second, or third violation – fines can range from $500 to $1000 for both renters and landlords and up to 50 hours of community service. Along with the potential suspension of a landlord’s rental license.

Final vote on the bill expansion is scheduled for February 21.

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