There are dueling rent control bills currently being considered by the County Council. One bill, Bill 16-23, Landlord-Tenant Relations – Rent Stabilization (The HOME Act), sponsored by Councilmembers Jawando and Mink, proposes a 3% rent cap or CPI, whichever is lowest. The other bill, Bill 15-23, Landlord-Tenant Relations-Anti Rent Gouging Protections, sponsored by Councilmember Fani- González and five other Councilmembers, proposes an 8% rent cap plus CPI.
According to Brookings Report – What does economic evidence tell us about the effects of rent control?, while rent control appears to help current tenants in the short run, in the long run it decreases affordability elsewhere; can fuel gentrification if rental properties are converted to owner-occupied condos and higher-end rentals are constructed; and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood.
Rent controlled properties create substantial negative externalities on the nearby housing market by reduced maintenance on the controlled properties, lowering the amenity value of these neighborhoods and making them less desirable places to live. In short, the policy imposes costs on local property owners, but only a fraction of that cost is transferred to renters in rent-controlled apartments.
Less distortion may result by offering this subsidy in the form of a government subsidy or tax credit to offset increases above a certain floor. This would remove landlords’ incentives to decrease the housing supply and could provide households with the insurance they desire. A point of future research would be to design an optimal social insurance program to insure renters against large rent increases.
Please send an email to the County Council opposing any rent control. Send your email signed with your name and home/business address.
County council email address: email@example.com
Subject: Oppose Rent Control Bills 15-23 and 16-23.
Suggested language you can edit as needed:
Dear Council President Glass and Members of the County Council,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the rent control regulations put forward in Bill 15-23 and Bill 16-23. I am a member of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce (GSSCC) and deeply care about our community and economic development in the County. You also have received a letter directly from GSSCC, in opposition to both of these bills.
Economic data and numerous studies quoted in prior hearings on this issue have shown that, implementing rent control will create even more housing shortages, drive up cost of rental housing, and decrease the quality of existing housing stock. I am aware that property owners who rent gouge exist. However, as noted multiple times, the average rent increase over the last 10 years in Montgomery County has been 2.1%. Perhaps the focus should be on those who actually gouge, not the majority who do not.
We have a housing supply problem in Montgomery County – both for owner-occupied and rental options. We need to work on building more attainable housing before we drive away from the County businesses interested in building a workforce here, and developers interested in providing housing. Both of these bills threaten housing affordability and deeply impair Montgomery County’s role as an economic engine in the region.
All that said, if you feel you must choose between these two pieces of legislation to regulate the rental market, Bill 15-23 would better weed out bad actors in the industry and maintain Montgomery County as a place for long-term property management investments.
However, before you pass either piece of legislation, I really urge the Council to consider the message legislation like this sends about how much Montgomery County is “open for business.” Particularly in conjunction with the proposed massive property tax increase and recordation tax increase (which we also hope you will reject), you are sending the exact opposite message to those who might be interested in investing in locating or growing their businesses here.
[County-located business name if relevant]
Copyright Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce. All Rights Reserved.
8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 203 | Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 565-3777 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.gsscc.org