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Summary of COVID-19 Renter Relief Act

  • The COVID-19 Renter Relief Act of 2020 prohibits landlords from notifying tenants of a rent increase greater than the Voluntary Rent Guideline (VRG) during the catastrophic health emergency and for 90 days after the emergency ends. Governor Hogan ended the catastrophic health emergency as of August 16, 2021. 
  • On February 5, 2021, the County established 1.4% as the 2021 Voluntary Rent Guideline. Under requirements of County law, the VRG is updated annually to represent the prior year increase in the rental component of the Consumer Price Index for the Washington Metropolitan Area.
  • This means that a notice of rent increase for a month-to-month, one-year, two-year or another length lease provided on or after February 5, 2021 and prior to November 15, 2021 cannot include an annual rent increase greater than 1.4%. 
  • 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. 
  • Any landlord who gives a tenant notice of rent increase greater than 1.4% on or after February 5, 2021 and prior to November 15, 2021 must either notify them to disregard that notice or notify them that the rent amount under the notice will be an amount representing an increase of no greater than 1.4%.
  • This limit on rent increase notices applies to all licensed residential rentals in Montgomery County, including rental units in multifamily buildings, houses, townhouses, individual condominium units, and accessory dwelling units.

For more information, visit Renter Issues Related to COVID-19 Crisis or Landlord issues related to COVID-19 crisis.

To see examples, visit: Explanatory scenarios regarding the Act.

Tenants or landlords who have questions or want help can reach Montgomery County DHCA Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs by calling 311 (240-777-0311).