City Council President Nick J. Mosby joins Councilmembers, housing advocates to announce major legislation to address housing insecurity
BALTIMORE, MD (January 11, 2021) — To help as many Baltimore families as possible stay in their homes in the midst of the pandemic and as our city recovers, City Council President Nick J. Mosby joins a coalition of councilmembers and advocates Monday to introduce sweeping legislation to fight housing insecurity.
The city’s legislative branch is taking a multi-layered approach to addressing the looming eviction crisis and ongoing housing insecurity issues in Baltimore with its first major legislative package of the new Council.
The bills will:
- Stop landlords from evicting people without “just cause” when their lease expires.
- Help renters afford move-in expenses by requiring landlords give tenants more options to pay their security deposits.
- Provide an extended grace period for tenants to pay their rent before they incur late fees and make sure people who receive public assistance have actually received their benefits before they’re required to pay rent.
- Help people avoid tax sale by allowing them to make payments on their annual real property taxes and any outstanding liens.
Follow updates on the Council’s COVID Housing Relief package using #BmoreHousingRelief on social media. The legislation will be introduced at the Council’s January meetings.
President Mosby said the Council is working urgently to provide legislative solutions to a critical problem facing thousands of Baltimore families. Through the Council’s newly improved committee process, each of the bills will receive a hearing to evaluate the problem and the proposed solution and ensure the measure can help as many people as possible.
“The City Council is a team of problem-solvers working every day on behalf of Baltimore families,” Mosby said. “This legislative package attacks Baltimore’s housing insecurity problem from multiple angles by blocking landlords from evicting renters when their leases expire, alleviating expenses tenants often face and keeping family homes out of tax sale.
“A safe, stable and secure home is the foundation families need to thrive.”
Advocates applauded the Council’s action.
Zafar Shah, an attorney with the Public Justice Center, said, “COVID-19 has made plain to see that housing insecurity is a roadblock to public health. We are at an urgent point where lawmakers must act to prevent eviction amid the pandemic but also begin to change systems for the long term, to ensure that the City is giving residents the best chance to stay here, work here, and thrive here. The Council President's housing package is a jumpstart to meeting this challenge.”
Councilman Antonio “Tony” Glover of East Baltimore’s District 13 said no families should be worried about losing their homes, especially during a global pandemic.
“Coronavirus cases are surging, people are dying; businesses are closing, people are losing their jobs — and still landlords are finding a way to evict people, despite state and federal bans,” Glover said. “It’s unconscionable, and the Council is working to stop it.”
Councilwoman Odette Ramos, a longtime housing advocate who represents the 14th District in North Baltimore, said the coronavirus crisis is not the genesis of Baltimore’s housing insecurity issues, but the pandemic has only made it worse. One approach to keeping families in their homes is keeping their properties out of tax sale, she said.
“This legislation helps homeowners pay their taxes and avoid falling victim to the predatory tax sale process,” Ramos said. “Comprehensively, our Council wants to make sure residents are able to stay in their homes during the health crisis, and beyond.”