Legislative News

View from Annapolis – Week 2

Heading into the second week of the 2022 General Assembly session, full gatherings of the House and Senate have been limited due to pandemic precautions. However, Committees have commenced a full slate of hearings on pending legislation. Your Maryland REALTORS® Advocacy Team has already offered testimony on the following issues:

Eviction Filing Requirements – While not yet considering increases to eviction filing fees, the House Environment and Transportation Committee met January 18 to consider several bills that would require landlords to include certain information on their eviction court filings. These include proof of compliance with local licensing requirements and disclosure if the rental property is a covered property under state lead paint abatement laws. Maryland REALTORS® does not oppose showing proof of landlord compliance with state and local requirements; however, we have asked for amendments to these bills so that landlords with temporary license approvals are not denied the ability to evict non-paying tenants. Current bills to watch: HB 101, HB 174

Sealing of Tenant Court Records – When tenants exercise their right of redemption by paying past due rental amounts, those instances of past non-payment can remain in court records searches, and ultimately impact a tenant’s ability to be approved for rental housing in the future. One proposal would allow tenants to seal these court records after certain timeframes. Maryland REALTORS® testified that landlords must have some window into the payment histories of prospective tenants to know whether there is a past pattern of rental non-payment. Current bills to watch: HB 134

Condominium and Homeowners Associations – REALTORS® are once again supporting bills to enhance oversight of HOA and Condo Associations. Despite an estimated one million Maryland residents live in these communities, there is very little oversight provided to their operations. One way to accomplish this is through the licensing of professional community managers through the Maryland Department of Labor. This would assure both competency of association managers and additional recourse for residents. Current bills to watch: HB 26

Housing Affordability and Tax Benefits – Finally, REALTORS® are always at the forefront of housing discussions in the General Assembly, which covers both the tax benefits granted to existing homeowners and ways to expand opportunities for homeownership. Over the course of the past week, Maryland REALTORS® appeared in three different House and Senate Committees to advocate for:

·        Additional homeowner’s tax credit eligibility for those with medical debts

·        Favorable loan and down payment programs for Maryland educators

·        Income tax credits for passive house energy efficiency upgrades

Current bills to watch: HB 58/SB 45, HB 81, SB 153

In addition to the above, Maryland REALTORS® also participated in a Briefing of the House Judiciary Committee on the current state of rent courts, emergency rental assistance funding and summary ejectment filings since the end of federal and state eviction moratoriums.

Want to see more? Our 2022 Legislative Status Report is updated in real time throughout the General Assembly Session so you can stay on top of all the issues facing the industry. Look for additional REALTOR® policy positions on pending legislation following the next Legislative Committee Meeting on Monday, January 24.