When spending so much time writing about, documenting, and thinking about vacant homes — one can forget there are families living in homes that are just as unsafe, and cause an equal negative impact on our neighborhoods — not to mention the health and safety of the tenants within.  We’ve often written about the housing violation records of bad landlords — multiple violations for lead paint, lack of running/clean water, no heat — yet so many of these cases go unreported because the tenants fear retaliation from the landlord if they report these serious violations.  The tenants can (and have been) evicted — or worse — simply because they care enough about their health and safety, and that of their children, to file a report.

You have an opportunity to stop this shameful practice, and I urge you to do so immediately.  The Maryland Rental Housing Coalition and the Public Justice Center ask that you please email or call Senator Jim Brochin (Baltimore County District 42) and Senator Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County District 11) and ask them to support SB 620 / HB 670 – Real Property – Retaliatory Actions.  This bill is an important step in making sure all Maryland tenants have the opportunity to live in safe and healthy housing, without fear of being thrown into the street if they file a report about unsafe conditions.  If you are a constituent of Senators Brochin or Zirkin, and would like to attend a meeting to discuss the bill, please contact Matt Hill at the Public Justice Center ([email protected]).  There is a hearing on this bill Tuesday, February 22nd, so we must act quickly! If you need assistance finding your State Senator, please use this link.

Contact information for Senators Brochin and Zirkin:

Sample email to send (feel free to edit before sending):

Dear Senator:

I am writing to ask that you support Senate Bill 620 – Real Property – Retaliatory Actions – Landlord and Mobile Home Park Owners, currently pending in the Judicial Proceedings Committee.  My community is very concerned that tenants are being evicted or are scared of being evicted when they complain about unsafe housing conditions.  When landlords retaliate against complaining tenants, the unsafe housing conditions only get worse, thereby endangering the health and safety of the entire community.  We must protect tenants who complain about unsafe housing conditions.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

You can dowload a copy of the Rental Housing Coalition’s talking points here, and you can download a copy of the bill text here.

Please help to support this important legislation today!