BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Baltimore city council approved the emergency security deposit law on Monday. He is now awaiting the signature of Mayor Brandon Scott.
The Emergency Relief for Safety Act has been established for the Emergency Security Deposit Voucher program, which will provide each family with a security deposit for certain funding under the law.
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City Council Chairman Nick Mosby released a statement following the approval:
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“We know that the ability to afford quality housing has only become more difficult during these long months of the pandemic. Council action tonight aims to alleviate stress by offering tenants in our city up to $ 2,000 for their security deposit.
This legislation, sponsored by Council Vice-President Sharon Green Middleton, is the last piece of the Council’s first major legislative package. These legislative solutions honor our commitment to ensuring residents have safe, stable and secure housing.
Introduced in January, I worked with my partners in the Municipality to face the precariousness of housing from several angles. Two of the bills now have the force of law.
First, we are helping keep tenants in their homes amid the eviction crisis with an innovative approach. Despite a ban during the pandemic, landlords were denying tenants the opportunity to renew their leases and evicting them from their homes.
Under the act, sponsored by City Councilor Tony Glover, landlords must give tenants a reason for not renewing their lease in writing – other than non-payment of rent. These reasons should be limited to what lawyers call “just cause”. This includes a major breach of the lease or the owner’s desire to renovate or move into the property.
Another bill, also now law, sponsored by City Councilor Robert Stokes, created a 10-day grace period for tenants to pay their rent before incurring late fees. In addition to guaranteeing more flexibility, this bill makes it possible to ensure that people who receive public assistance have actually received their benefits before having to pay rent.
Your council is also working hard to help our homeowners avoid tax sales, by exercising our legislative oversight and ensuring that eligible residents are enrolled in the Homeowners Property Tax Credit which can reduce or eliminate their tax debt. Congratulations to city councilor Odette Ramos for her work on this file.
While awaiting the signing of Mayor Brandon Scott on this final bill to provide relief in the form of security deposits, I would like to commend Vice President Middleton for her diligence in bringing this project to fruition. Landlords often require tenants to post a security deposit worth hundreds or thousands of dollars – money many in our city just don’t have. Our bill gives priority to tenants with the lowest incomes to access quality housing with this one-time payment.
City Council is a team of problem solvers working on behalf of Baltimore families every day. No one should worry about where they will live, especially during a global pandemic. Safe, secure and stable homes provide families with the foundations they need to thrive.
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