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Summary of COVID-19 Renter Relief Act
 

  • The COVID-19 Renter Relief Act (the Act), effective April 24, 2020, prohibits landlords from increasing existing tenants’ rent by more than 2.6% after April 24 and during the COVID-19 catastrophic health emergency signed by the Governor of Maryland on March 5, 2020. For example, any rent increases scheduled for May 1, 2020 may not represent an increase of more than 2.6%. Further, the Act prohibits landlords from notifying tenants of a rent increase of more than 2.6% during the COVID-19 emergency (which began March 5) and for 90 days after the emergency ends. 
  • The COVID-19 Renter Relief Act limits rent increases to the percentage increase of the County’s 2020 Voluntary Rent Guideline (VRG) of 2.6%. That number was established by the County Executive on February 3, 2020. Under requirements of the County law it represents the rental component of the Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and it is updated each year. The VRG cannot be changed until 2021. The VRG provides reference information for landlords and tenants to understand average rent increases from the prior year and before the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act had no impact on rent levels allowed in the County.
  • Landlords who previously notified tenants of a rent increase in excess of 2.6% that comes into effect after April 24 and during the catastrophic health emergency or, who gave tenants notice of a rent increase of more than 2.6% since the start of the March 5 emergency, 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 2.6%.
  • This limitation on rent increases and 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).