Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Council Approves Landlord-Tenant Bill

On Tuesday we unanimously approved amended Bill 19-15 that addresses issues with landlord-tenant relations. The Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee held five worksessions on the bill that would make several changes to the landlord-tenant law principally aimed at enhancing the existing rights of tenants and improving the quality of rental housing through increased inspections.

The major provisions of approved Bill 19-15 will:

  • Provide tenants with greater transparency about their rights and obligations under a lease.
  • Require the Department of Housing and Community Affairs to inspect a sample of every multi-family rental property over the next two years to establish baseline information about the condition of the County’s rental housing stock.
  • Focus ongoing enforcement resources on properties with significant health and safety issues and properties with numerous code violations.
  • Provide clearer information about the state of rental units in the County via improved data collection and publication.
  • Provide many benefits to tenants that should improve the stability and quality of their living arrangements. 
Other provisions in the bill will:
  • Require each lease to include a plain language summary of a tenant’s rights and responsibilities.
  • Require DHCA to conduct a two-year intensive inspection schedule (twice the current number of inspections, prioritized by need).
  • Require DHCA to provide annual reports to Council and County Executive about past and upcoming year inspections. 
  • Require certain properties to be inspected more frequently than the current triennial schedule (based on type and severity of violations).
  • Require landlords to pay the cost of subsequent inspections, if a property needs multiple inspections for uncorrected violations.
  • Require that tenants can make certain repairs when authorized by the DHCA director or his designee, if DHCA orders a repair and the landlord fails to correct the issue in the allotted time.
  • Requires lease renewal terms of two years, if the landlord is offering renewal.
Approved Bill 19-15 also provides tenants with greater access to information including:
  • Improvement of the availability of landlord-tenant handbooks.
  • Requiring landlords to provide tenants with more information about utility bills in older buildings.
  • Requiring landlords to give 60 days’ notice if the landlord intends to terminate the tenancy at the end of a lease term, and 90 days’ notice for all rent increases.
  • Requiring DHCA to publish certain data from the annual rental housing survey on its web site.
  • Requiring that tenant organizations be allowed to use available meeting space for free once per month.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

County Maintains AAA Bond Rating

Good news: Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating for 2016 from three Wall Street bond rating agencies. Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s all affirmed the “AAA” rating – the highest achievable -- for the County. They all termed the outlook for Montgomery County as “stable.”

The Triple-A bond rating enables Montgomery County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. The rating also serves as a benchmark for numerous other financial transactions, ensuring the lowest possible costs in those areas as well.

The County has held an AAA bond rating since 1973 and is currently one of just 45 of the more than 3,000 counties nationwide with the top rating from all three rating agencies.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stand Up for the Montgomery Way

I hope to see you this Sunday when I will join other public officials, faith leaders and neighbors as we reaffirm our values of diversity, inclusion and respect for all that have made Montgomery County special at the Stand Up for the Montgomery Way event. We will be at the Silver Spring Civic Building at 1 Veterans Place in Silver Spring, 2:30 to 3:30.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Council and Executive Reaffirm Community Safety and Trust

As a number of people have written and stated, the events of the past week have brought out demons in our society that many of us thought had been put to rest. That's why the Council passed a resolution reaffirming this County’s tradition of respect for all residents. We stand united in saying we are a diverse community that believes in the dignity and importance of all our members. We reject discrimination and disenfranchisement in all its forms, and we condemn hate speech, hate crimes and harassment. See the news conference.

Here's the full text of the resolution:

SUBJECT:       Reaffirming Community Safety and Trust and Denouncing Anti-Immigrant Activity, Racial Bias and Discrimination, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Hate Speech, Hate Crimes, and Harassment in Montgomery County 


1. Montgomery County’s strength is its diversity. People from every corner of the globe come to our County seeking peace, stability, and a better quality of life for their families, and their contributions greatly enrich our community. 

2. Montgomery County has the largest population of foreign born residents in the State of Maryland with nearly one-third of our residents coming from other countries. 

3. More than 70 percent of students in Montgomery County Public Schools are Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, or multi-racial.

4. The County Council affirms the dignity of all County residents and recognizes the importance of their contributions to social, religious, cultural, and economic life.

5. County officials and employees and our entire community have worked diligently to build trust among people of all races, ethnicities, and religions. These efforts make our County a thriving, welcoming community. 

6. Montgomery County has a long history of protecting all individual freedoms, and we will continue to protect and defend our people and our progress. 
7. All our residents should be free to go about their daily life without fear of hate speech, hate crimes, harassment, or deportation. 

8. The Council strongly opposes any federal action that may undermine the trust created in our community and threaten public safety.   

9. The Council is committed to ensuring that activity at the federal level will not impact our democratic values or the progress made in our community to protect individual freedoms. Federal authorities must proceed with great caution and respect for the values of our County and the requirements of the Constitution. 

The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following resolution:

Montgomery County will continue to be a citadel of justice and provide unlimited opportunities for people from all walks of life. The County will continue to be an inclusive and pluralistic community where all people are treated with respect.

Montgomery County believes that no deportations should take place without ensuring that the person to be deported received adequate representation and due process of law under the Constitution. The Montgomery County Police Department will play no role in enforcing federal immigration law.  County residents should never be afraid to seek help from our public safety officers. 

The Council rejects bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in any form.

The Council denounces hate speech, hate crimes, and harassment and condemns the recent hate crimes that have occurred in our County.   

The Council calls on the County’s MC311 system to provide operators and staff with special instructions to assist anyone on how to report and deal with hate crimes and harassment, including information about legal resources and support services. When appropriate, MC311 operators should also transfer calls to the Montgomery County Police Department’s non-emergency number and provide information about the Office of Human Rights. 

This is a correct copy of Council action.

Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving

Here is our holiday schedule for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County Liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation - all programs and facilities are closed
  • Montgomery Parks - For holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
  • Ride On – Ride On will run on a Sunday schedule
  • Metrorail – Information available at
  • Metrobus – Information available at
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling Collections – No collection*
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - closed.  Public Unloading Facility and Recycle Lot, at the Transfer Station will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25
  • State offices and courts – closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25
*Collection for Thursday and Friday provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Expansion of Sick and Safe Leave Law

Today the Council unanimously approved Bill 32-16 that will extend the provisions of the County’s paid leave law for certain parental purposes. The bill will add two related purposes for which use of paid leave accrued under the Earned Sick and Safe Leave law will be permitted. The bill will permit the use of paid leave for the birth of a child or for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. It also will allow use of the leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed child within one year of birth, adoption or placement.

The Council in July 2015 enacted Bill 60-14 that requires an employer doing business in the County to provide a minimum amount of paid leave for an employee who works in the County. Bill 60-14 was enacted with an effective date of October 1, 2016. Bill 32-16 will go into effect immediately as expedited legislation.