E-Alerts & Press Releases

Tell Sen. Zirkin: It's Time to Reform Rent Court!

April 4, 2017

The Maryland House of Delegates has voted overwhelmingly to support HB 1487, a package of consensus-based reforms to the state's Rent Courts. Now this critical legislation must clear the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The Public Justice Center is leading the charge to make Rent Court reform happen, but we need your help. Please email Committee Chair Bobby Zirkin (D - District 11) and tell him to put HB 1487 to a vote!

HB 1487 would ensure that tenants have at least 4 days' notice of trial in a rent case -- that means that every renter is guaranteed at least 1 business day before trial to get the documents they need for trial, to request time off from work, or to contact a civil legal aid organization like the Public Justice Center.

The bill would allow judges to toss out eviction cases brought by violators of the Lead Risk in Housing law. According to the PJC's Justice Diverted report, 60% of law-breaking landlords won judgments in their favor in the Baltimore City Rent Court. HB 1487 would allow judges to see evidence of landlords' non-compliance with the Lead Risk law and to dismiss cases brought by bad actors. This common-sense enforcement tool is long overdue.

This bill is based on an 8-month-interim study among landlords' proponents, tenant advocates, and the Judiciary. Tell the Senate: the time is NOW to pass these consensus-based reforms!

We need the Chair to schedule HB 1487 for a Committee vote. If your Senator is on the Committee, tell them to you support the "consensus Rent Court bill" and expect Chairman Zirikin to act now!

Contact info for Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee members is available here, and the members are listed by jurisdiction below:

 Baltimore County
   Sen. James Brochin (D - District 42)
   Vice Chair, Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D - District 10)
   Chair, Sen. Bobby A. Zirkin (D - District 11)

Carroll County
   Sen. Justin Ready (R - District 5)

Carroll and Frederick Counties
   Sen. Michael J. Hough (R - District 4)

Cecil and Harford Counties
   Sen. Wayne Norman (R - District 35)

Harford County
   Sen. Robert Cassilly (R - District 34)

Montgomery County
   Sen. Susan C. Lee (D - District 16)
   Sen. William C. Smith, Jr. (D - District 20)

Prince George's County
   Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D - District 26)
   Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D - District 47)

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