BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Council approved the Emergency Security Deposit Relief Act Monday. It now awaits the signature of Mayor Brandon Scott.
The Emergency Security Relief Act was established for the Emergency Security Deposit Voucher Program — which will provide each family with a security deposit for certain funding under the act.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Rain Showers Continue But Expect A Sunny Weekend
City Council President Nick Mosby released a statement following the approval:READ MORE: Traffic Advisory For US 50 East Before Bay Bridge
“We know the ability to afford quality housing has only gotten more difficult during these long pandemic months. The Council’s action tonight is meant to ease the stress by providing renters in our city up to $2,000 toward their security deposit.
This legislation, sponsored by Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton, is the final piece of the Council’s first major legislative package. These legislative solutions honor our commitment to ensuring residents have safe, stable and secure homes.
Introduced in January, I worked with my partners on the Council to confront housing insecurity from a number of angles. Two of the bills are now law.
First, we are helping to keep renters in their homes in the midst of the eviction crisis with an innovative approach. Despite a ban during the pandemic, landlords were denying renters the chance to renew their leases and kicking them out of their homes.
Under this law, sponsored by Councilman Tony Glover, landlords must give tenants a reason for not renewing their lease in writing — other than failure to pay rent. These reasons must be limited to what lawyers call “just cause.” That includes a significant breach of the lease or the landlord’s desire to renovate the property or move into it.
Another bill, also now law, sponsored by Councilman Robert Stokes, created a 10-day grace period for tenants to pay their rent before they incur late fees. Aside from guaranteeing more flexibility, this bill helps to make sure people who receive public assistance have actually received their benefits before they’re required to pay rent.
Your Council is also working hard to help our homeowners avoid tax sale, exercising our legislative oversight and making sure eligible residents are signed up for the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit that can reduce or eliminate their tax debt. Congratulations to Councilwoman Odette Ramos for her work on this issue.
While we await Mayor Brandon Scott’s signature on this final bill to provide relief in the form of security deposits, I want to applaud Vice President Middleton for her diligence in seeing this through. Landlords often require renters to pay a security deposit worth hundreds or thousands of dollars — money that many in our city simply do not have. Our bill gives renters with the lowest incomes priority in accessing quality housing with this one-time payment.
The City Council is a team of problem-solvers working every day on behalf of Baltimore families. No one should be worried about where they’ll live, especially during a global pandemic. Safe, secure and stable homes provide families the foundation they need to thrive.”