Temporary Law Capping Rent Hikes in Prince George’s Getting Extended

WTOP NEWS: The Prince George’s County Council has passed an extension of the 3% cap on rent increases that it approved last year, as elected leaders continue to come up with a broader and permanent solution.

The six-month extension aims to buy time for the Maryland council, along with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, to get there.

A handful of people showed up to testify at the meeting Tuesday to encourage the council to extend the cap, including Shannon Mouton, who is involved with the Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS).

“Rent stabilization, without a doubt keeps people from becoming homeless,” Mouton said. “However, it is not a long-term solution. And while we do support the rent stabilization extension, be very clear, LARS is asking this council to do all within your power to expedite development of affordable housing throughout the entire county for all residents.”

The one person who spoke out against the extension also framed it as a supply and demand problem more than anything else.

“There is a housing supply shortage in the state of Maryland, and of course, across the region,” said Ryan Washington of the Apartment and Office Building Association. “Rent control is legislation that only puts a Band-Aid on a systemic issue that’s dealing with supply and demand. In addition, the impacts of this 3% temporary rent cap will have very, very negative economic impacts on behalf of our members as rent is the sole revenue collected as a form to help pay for operating expenses, mortgage insurance, which has increased over 20%,” along with other maintenance costs he listed.

“It will be… financially infeasible for our members to continue to operate if they’re hampered with such cost and only allow to increase rent at such a low cap,” he added.

The 3% cap was passed last year after stories about rent hikes of several hundred dollars per month that were driving seniors and low-income residents out of their homes. At the same time, a task force was put together to come up with a list of recommendations that would lead to a more permanent solution.

Among the recommendations was a permanent cap on rent hikes, though somewhere in the 4% to 10% range instead of the current 3% cap currently in place. And members of the task force also stressed that there was a need for more housing around the region as well.

Alsobrooks is expected to sign the six-month extension before the April 17 expiration of the current yearlong cap. But the push for a permanent solution to rising rents remains a work in progress in Largo.


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