Landlord Tenant Bill Signing
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Landlord Tenant Bill Signing


I’m pleased to be here today and i’m joined by a number of council members and i’m going to introduce them starting with our key sponsor which is Mark Elrich Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker and other council members Nancy Floreen Roger Berliner and we’re also joined by Clarence Snuggs who’s the head of the housing and housing division for Montgomery County nearly one-third of the county residents are tenants and yet for a long time they effectively had little or no voice and they were not at the table I decided to change that some years ago for example I meet with the Realtors and other business people and i said at that point in time we need to in fact include and to have a tenant working group working group that can look at some of the challenges and difficulties that tenants face and they provided me with a series of recommendations and we’ve implemented some of those recommendations some of them are incorporated in this bill today also put together a county resource established a county renters resource and renters Alliance and its leaders Matt Losak is here and thank you Matt all the work that you’ve done in that regard as well they’ve done a great job and has many other advocates who are concerned about the plight of tenants in Montgomery County this bill make several changes to the landlord tenant law personally aimed at enhancing the existing rights of tenants and improving the quality rental housing to increase inspection the bill will help bring more transparency to the leasing process give tenants some additional information and rights and increase inspections of rental units recent events have demonstrated the importance of more frequent and thorough inspections too many tenants unfortunately were fearful to come forward to explain their concerns and their plight believing that they may in fact be retaliated against they deserve better and this bill offers some help and fairness it strikes a good balance now I’d like to use introduce the person who has been a principle sponsor of all the legislation we had related to tenants who helped in the formulation of the implementation group who also have helped in the funding for the project that we’ve had going for he’s the principal sponsor and the person who I think deserves a great deal of credit as to why we’re here today Mark Elrich first of all I want I want to thank a few people i want to thank the county executive first of all for creating the task force and for working with me on this when i first came on the council there had been a an affordable housing task force and we noticed there were like no tenants on the affordable housing task force and so we asked the executive if we can create another task force to focus on the tenant issues you are a third of the people in the county and we felt it was important to look at it from a tenant perspective not just from the global affordable housing perspective and I was really gratified that the county executive agreed and that he supported the effort and the work of that tenant Task Force which we which produced instead of work group report in 2010 and we’ve gone from this report two things that were implemented administratively but also the things that require legislation to implement I want to thank my co-sponsors nancy navarro on Tom Hucker and some it was amazingly important to have your support things go easier when there’s support off for something in the beginning of the process and I really appreciate your support for this and I think we’ve all come up with something that is going to make every make the life of tenants in this county better i want to thank Matt Losak shared the task force but also for his and the fatigue of work the runners lines for the tenants in this county you’ve done a lot of work and we really appreciate it former state senator and now US congressman jamie raskin worked with us from the beginning and I really want to thank you for that board member jalaw written vows i think is really special because you you came out and talked about tenant legislation from the perspective of somebody in the education system and it is absolutely important to understand this isn’t just about the right of attendant to occupy the space but it’s what it does the families to have safe and secure housing and how that makes a difference in their lives and that makes a difference in the lives of their children and how that has an educational impact and I was really appreciative when you came and testified and kind of the full picture together because too often we just talked about a part of it I wanted to thank Clarence dogs for working with us diligently tirelessly not always fun yeah but we got to a place we needed to be and I you know in perseverance has a lot of value and appreciate your person hearing with with me on this i would want to thank Chuck Short I do not see Chuck here chuck was an amazing contact and resource with the administration and his advice and is support was really important i wanted to thank cost understood the importance of this was willing to support it and the last people in effect of the tenants in the county who made themselves visible and I think really helped make this possible that your stories have been growing and for a long time that’s been a silent voice and I think through this legislation were hoping to change that tenants often have difficulty is raising issues they live in the fear of retaliation and it’s hard for a lot of us understand retaliation because you’ve never experienced that but if your recent immigrant if your status is uncertain it makes it very hard to say i want the government to come help me check if you come from a country where you don’t go to the government for help it’s not you know most of the world is not montgomery county and I’m really proud of the fact i live in a place you can say montgomery county is the place that will help you not the place you need to be afraid of but i think a lot of tenants continue to have that fear and there are anomalies in the state law which we had not able to address here that give me in the words of somewhat uneven and then dealing with tenants and hopefully making potatoes their legislators to take steps to deal with what they can do at the state level this bill and accomplishes some major improvements it moves let’s a sample every rental property over the next two years inspections so we’re going to brought in the inspection regime we’re going to target we’re going to look at the older buildings buildings have those problems that we’re going to start there and work our way forward tenants are always not gonna have to rely on their willingness to complain because the more inspections you get the less it becomes you versus the landlord becomes the county doing its job and say I found the problem and asking the landlord to fix it with his room much better relationship to have and tenants would not have to choose between safe and decent housing and a roof over their head nobody should be in the position of saying if I ask for something in my jeopardizing my ability to stay here tenants are going to get married in 90 days notice or rent increases that is really important because of this rental market particularly if you’re at the low end of the rental market housing at the low end is scarce and it’s not like you can say i’m leaving tomorrow I’ll just find another apartment and so the extra 90 days the full 90 days give people time to find the housing they need and leases are going to have a summary language that says what are the legal requirements of police because a lot of leases are hard to read I have a hard time reading laces was not the small print it’s the length of legal language that some that sometimes and people found that was this contradicts what’s in contradicts what’s in the main part of the really lease so we’re going to get plain language that that focuses on the main points of at least and I think that’s really important we’re going to data collection you can’t talk about an affordable housing crisis and understand that if you don’t collect the data to see what’s happening that housing and so I think the data collection has been improve our resources that can help us make better decisions going forward home tenth circle that meeting spaces available to them in their buildings no more as experienced one building and silver spring with the landlord calls the police and says the tenants can’t assemble here that’s not going to happen and we’re going to provide more milk more information on intelligence sort of tenants can understand when their bills are being switched from all-inclusive inclusivity now you’re paying utility bill they’ll have a better understanding what exactly their pay this is a big step forward i didn’t get everything I wanted but I got the major things i wanted and i think we’re going to continue to work see what we can learn see what comes out of this mean hopefully his experience has changed we continue to do research will see what else needs to be done but it’s a it’s a big step for us and it’s a big it’s a big step for the county would take this weave kind of stayed away from these issues for a long time so I’m really proud to be here proud of the side of the probably work with executive mr. leg thank you now hear from the council president and then from the two sponsors and anybody else who wants to pick up today mr. president thank you can t executive I do think it’s important to sing the praises of the committee as well as all colleagues because this is an example of where we were able to find common ground on an issue that was contentious when you get a nine nothing vote on the issue of this magnitude it says you’ve done your business well and so I really commend all my colleagues including the lead sponsor for his willingness to work with us to come up with a bottom line that works from my perspective the inspection piece is so important we learned anything about the tragedy that took place in our county it is oh my goodness we are not attending to the buildings that have had the most complaints a year after year and now we will now we will focus on that so I am grateful to be here in this moment grateful for the county executive leadership is the county executive said many people are fearful of raising their hand and saying I’ve got a problem so in the District of Columbia they have an office of tenant advocacy that’s a concept that I continue to believe we want to take a look at and see whether it’s right for us because we want to make it possible for anybody anybody who’s feeling that they are not being treated fairly to raise their hand and to go to someplace where they know it is safe from day one and know that they will be cared for in Montgomery County because that is what we do Thank You afternoon Nancy Navarro councilmember district 4 and in spanish we have a stainless is my heart that nucca better late than never these are issues that I know councilmember l rich and many of my colleagues and so many in the community executive Leggett have been working on and you know I was myself mentor when I first moved to montgomery county not too far from here in an apartment and can very much relate to what it means to make sure that you strive to find affordable and quality housing for your family and so this is a great day this is an amazing step forward and it has has been mentioned before extraordinary work by all council members with the community with mr. loebsack and who’s he represents to find some commonalities and some consensus i’m really proud to have served on this council during this time where we are taking on so many imperative pieces of legislation that I know will help so many in our county and it was mentioned earlier you know mobility in our schools is a big deal and it has a cost and we should not be in a situation where so many in this extraordinarily wealthy County have to resort to that type of constant mobility in order to find stable housing so this is a great day a great step forward thank everybody who worked so hard and hopefully minimum wage will follow thank you so much thanks like thanks mark and Nancy for your leadership on this is a great day and we should do this more often I’m very excited about this bill it’s been a long time coming as others have said we have put up with too many of these violations and too many properties for too long and I think today is the beginning of a new day it’s not the end but it’s the beginning of a new day where we’re going to have much more vigorous prosecution of our maybe that’s the wrong word but instead of focus on the worst violations in the worst properties mark mentioned the amendments i was able to sponsor for the building that I’m very proud of the very happy about the two-year lease requirement plain English requirement many other very basic common-sense protections in the bill but the inspection regime that we were able to add as amendments i’m very happy about I think it means for the first time we’re going to focus on the worst first we’re gonna work focus on the worst properties and the worst violations for the first time health and safety violations like rats and mice and roaches and bedbugs and mold and mildew are in statute for the first time and we’re telling our article director of housing community affairs thank you to focus on those first we’re never going to have unlimited resources in the HCA the county’s not going to have unlimited resources we have to make sure we’re focusing on the worst violations in the worst properties and that’s not only good for tenants I believe that’s good for landlords no longer will we have landlords telling us we’re getting the whole industry pan with a broad brush because of the neglect of a few landlords and a few properties that’s how we tackle other problems thats exactly should be approached to housing the data and transparency piece is very important as well because this means for the first time all of us as taxpayers and certainly the county council and HCA are going to know which violations were were found in inspections which citations were assessed and which finds were paid by landlords and we’re going to see that much more frequently than we ever have in the past which is terrific so tenants will be able to know what buildings like before they consider moving in and that’s gonna let the market help determine you know help enforce good behavior reward good behavior and and keep our inspections focused on the the worst ones because the county can’t do everything and finally we’re going to be able to enhance our oversight of negligent property owners because we’re going to require them to report back the violations that they hear from tenants in real time too often we talk to tenants who say i reported this and I reported that to my building manager talked to the president of the apartment community and they say I don’t know anything about that because something got lost in translation we’re going to be finding out these these complaints in real time and be able to to make sure the county is responding and that’s gonna be good for everyone as well so again I’m Nancy Floreen I was president of what we were doing this and sharing the committee that oversees side and I don’t thank everybody for their engagement and it’s not just the people in this room the real estate community was very involved they pointed out the challenges some of the challenges that we work through it but really the credit goes to mark for taking this on and sticking with it and taking that allowing us to take our time to make it something that everyone could buy into and I think it created a better product so thank you Mark and thanks to all my clitty you know the the work session after work session they were so substantive and I think we really just cover a very wide range of issues are very proud to serve on this committee counsel at the time we’re passing this legislation and I was pleased to support the legislation i also wanted to express i really learned something I learned a lot of things in this process but I learned a lot about the importance of the that the the social capital of the community the the strength of community organizing in the community because government can’t solve every problem we do need residents to feel the power to engage with the county and to engage with their property owners to speak up for their rights and to request the same quality services that everybody in this community would want to have for themselves so the role of organizations in providing for that is really important and I think that was one of the real benefits of this whole legislative process was learning about that but again thank you to Mark and everybody for work unless I really enjoy them again I’m very proud to have been on the council as we passed it this is an important and exciting day the signing of this bill and I’m excited about moving forward and implementing the bill i’m most excited about what the bill speaks to and you’ve heard from a couple of the council members are part of that and i think one of the most important things that we can do is use this as a way to grow and strengthen the voice of tenants in montgomery county and playing a part with the county in addressing the quality of housing in montgomery county we need that voice he can’t go absent it can’t be done through substitute we need to get we need your participation to get the benefit of this bill I’d also like to thank the county executive for his ongoing support of quality affordable housing in montgomery county i want to thank the sponsors of the bill in particular councilmember average for hanging in there with us and as we work through this and his staff Dale and Debbie because we we got down in the trenches and work through a lot of things I want to thank the Fed committee for all of its work we worked on this for quite awhile almost two years and they work to really line-by-line we worked through each one of these issues to try to find a solution that we could go forward with and I really appreciate their efforts in and sticking and with it so I’m excited about this looking forward as we go go forward and implement or implementing bill 1915 thank you thank you mr. Leggett mat lo saque montgomery county records Alliance we were formed in 2010 as a recommendation of the tenants workgroup where the first and only nonprofit in the region exclusively dedicated to render outreach education organizing and advocacy this bill is extremely important we are very pleased we’re very thankful especially to the council as a whole but also to mr. Leggett for his leadership in recognizing the importance of this movement well before it became popular and to marquel rich who recognized it well before mr. Leggett recognize that before he was even on the council when I was extremely unpopular and when he took it on and ran with it by himself there are thousands and thousands of renter’s throughout Montgomery County who are hurting they are afraid for their homes they’re afraid to speak up they’re afraid to pursue promise to required maintenance they want to organize tenant associations and they’re not sure how to go about it they’re not sure how to leverage the resources that exist now that are strengthened now because of this council and because of mr. Leggett and so we have a lot of work to do I look forward to pursuing that with the Department of Housing and Community Affairs I am very grateful for this county for leading the way on and changing direction in protecting renters and I think we have a lot more work to do but i’m very grateful today thank you very much many throughout our community especially the most importantly mark Eldridge in the responses co-sponsors and all the entire council for the work that they’ve accomplished here this is legislation that is long overdue and i believe will have a very positive impact going forward and so I’m delighted today to sign the build thank you thank you back he’s a government can survey with

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