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Summary - Extended Limitations Against Rent Increases and Late Fees Act

The  Extended Limitations Against Rent Increases and Late Fees Act of 2021 prohibits landlords from notifying tenants of a rent increase greater than the Voluntary Rent Guideline (VRG) until May 15, 2022. Further, if a tenant signs and gives the attestation form of low household income and COVID impact to their landlord, the bill requires the landlord to waive late fees charged to a tenant since March 5, 2020 and prohibits the landlord from charging late fees until May 15, 2022. These provisions apply to all licensed residential rentals in Montgomery County, including rental units in multifamily buildings, houses, townhouses, individual condominium units, and accessory dwelling units.  Below is more information on each provision. 

Limit on Rent Increase Notices

A notice of rent increase for any lease (month-to-month, one-year, two-year or another length lease) provided prior to May 16, 2022 cannot include an annual rent increase greater than the Voluntary Rent Guideline (VRG), which currently is 1.4%.  Under requirements of County law, the VRG is updated annually (generally in February) to represent the prior year increase in the rental component of the Consumer Price Index for the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Each written rent increase notice from a landlord must contain the following information:

  1. The current (old) rent amount; the proposed new rent amount; and, the percentage increase in monthly rent;
  2. The effective date of the proposed increase;
  3. The applicable rent increase guideline (e.g., 1.4% on Feb. 5 or later); and,
  4. A notice that the tenant may ask the Department to review any rent increases that the tenant considers excessive. 

Waiver of Late Fees charged but not collected -- during the emergency and through May 15, 2022

Beginning November 9, 2021, landlords must not charge a fee to a tenant for the nonpayment or late payment of rent due between March 5, 2020 and May 15, 2022, unless the landlord first provides to the tenant the DHCA notification and attestation form " Statement of Eligibility for Waiver of Late Fees," making the tenant aware:
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  • that the tenant may qualify for the waiver of late fees; and,
  • that the tenant can sign and submit the form to their landlord to receive the waiver. 

If a tenant receives the form from their landlord, they have 90 days to submit it. The tenant may submit the form to their landlord, even if their landlord did not provide it to them.

A landlord must waive late fees for the nonpayment or late payment of rent, due between March 5, 2020 and May 15, 2022, if a tenant delivers a signed attestation form to the landlord. The attestation form states that the tenant:

  • has experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship;
  • has a gross household income at or below 50% of the area median income for the previous 30 days or for the 2020 tax year; and
  • has been a Montgomery County resident since August 2020 or earlier. 

A landlord must not require proof of, nor challenge the veracity of, a tenant’s attestation under this Section.

The Waiver applies to any uncollected late fee for rent, that became due on or after March 5, 2020. It does not require a landlord to refund to a tenant any payment of these fees received by the landlord prior to the effective date of this Act.

Renters or landlords who have questions or want help can contact the Montgomery County DHCA Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs at 311 (240-777-0311) or email olta.intake@montgomerycountymd.gov

Additional COVID-related information is available for renters and for landlords.