Troubled and At-Risk Properties

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Download the Full Troubled Properties Report for FY23 (PDF )

Montgomery County, Maryland is home to approximately 1.06 million people.  Approximately 34.5% of occupied housing units in the County are renter occupied. The demand for rental housing is growing and aging housing stock is challenging to maintain. As such, property owners and/or property managers play a vital role in the community as they are responsible for providing and preserving one of the most basic human necessities – shelter. Because of this vital need, Montgomery County Government enacted legislation to motivate certain property owners and managers to improve the living conditions of the apartments they own and/or manage by reducing the overall number and severity of violations existing on their properties. The designation of Troubled Properties is also intended to assist the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) in prioritizing where to focus its limited housing code inspection resources among the approximately 690 multifamily rental properties in Montgomery County; these properties contain approximately 80,032 individual rental units.
Our housing Code Enforcement team conducts legally mandated inspections of multifamily apartment buildings to determine which properties are housing code “Compliant”, “At-Risk” of being troubled, or “Troubled”. In addition, the team annually addresses over 10,000 Montgomery County 3-1-1 service requests regarding safety and maintenance upkeep concerns for all types of residential properties, vacant lots, and the exterior of commercial buildings.
Chapter 29 ( §29-22) of the Montgomery County Code and the accompanying regulations define “Troubled” and “At-Risk” properties and set criteria for determining if a property fits into either category.  In general, a “Troubled Property” is a multifamily rental property with numerous and or severe “health and safety” housing code violations such as:
  • rodent or insect infestation affecting 20 percent or more of the rental units;
  • extensive and visible mold growth on interior walls or exposed surfaces;
  • windows that do not permit a safe means of emergency escape;
  • pervasive or recurring water leaks causing chronic dampness, mold growth, or property damage in more than one unit; and
  • lack of one or more working utilities that were not shut-off due to tenant non-payment.
Additionally, a property designated as Troubled must develop and implement a corrective action plan that describes in detail the specific actions that the landlord will take within a specified time schedule to both identify and correct current and ongoing housing code violations in a timely manner and prevent future housing code violations to the greatest extent possible. A troubled property must also submit a quarterly log of its internal maintenance calls upon the request of DHCA.
DHCA will designate an individual property as Troubled based on a comparison of its most recent inspection results with the results of all other properties inspected during the same time period. Each year, DHCA uses the results of the preceding year’s multifamily housing code inspections to calculate which properties should be designated as Troubled or At-Risk.  DHCA calculates two numerical scores for each multifamily property inspected: The Total Number of Violations Score (the “TV” Score), and the Severity of Violations Score (the “SV” Score). If a property’s scores exceed the annual thresholds established by DHCA, that property will be designated as a Troubled or At-Risk Property. 

How frequently does DHCA inspect multifamily rental properties?

A multifamily apartment building that is well maintained and code “Compliant” is inspected every three years. At-Risk properties will be inspected at the discretion of DHCA annually, biennially, or triennially.  Troubled properties will be inspected annually until DHCA determines that the property is no longer Troubled.

How can the Troubled Property designation be removed from a property? 
A property designated as Troubled or At-Risk may have the designation removed at the time its TV and SV scores no longer exceed the thresholds at which properties are designated as Troubled or At-Risk, based upon inspection by DHCA, such that they are no longer located in the applicable quadrants of the X-Y scatter graph specified in the regulations.  Additionally, for Trouble properties the DHCA Director must determine that the corrective action plan for the rental housing has been successfully completed.  Further, for properties designated as Troubled, failure to submit the required corrective action plan and quarterly maintenance logs will result in those properties remaining on the Troubled property list.  

Properties Inspected in FY23 and Inspection Results 
The Code Enforcement Section completed a total of 15,627 interior rental unit inspections at 309 properties that were due for mandated inspections during Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) beginning July 1, 2022, and ending June 30, 2023. The charts below show the percentage of properties and units that fell into the “Troubled” category relative to the total number of multifamily apartment buildings and rental units within DHCA’s code enforcement jurisdiction. Properties and units in the “Not Troubled” categories are in either “Compliant or “At-Risk” categories, some of which were not scheduled for inspection in FY23.

Multifamily Apartment Buildings

77 Troubled properties (11%), 609 Not Troubled properties (89%)

Rental Units in Multifamily Apartment Buildings Identified as Troubled in FY23

8040 Troubled properties (10%), 71977 Not Troubled properties (90%)

Every September, DHCA provides the County Executive and the County Council an annual report on multifamily housing inspections completed from July 1 to June 30, which includes a detailed property status list.

Download Previous Troubled Property Reports
Troubled Propeties Report for FY23 (PDF)
Troubled Propeties Report for FY22 (PDF)
Troubled Propeties Report for FY21 (PDF)
Troubled Propeties Report for FY19-20 (PDF)

For more information about housing code requirements  in Montgomery County please see our “ Housing and Building Code Enforcement Handbook" (PDF).