2018 Legislative Testimony

HB 580: Landlord and Tenant – Prohibited Lease Provisions – Late Fees for Tenant Receiving Government Benefits
Hearing of the House Environment and Transportation Committee
February 15, 2018
SUPPORT WITH AMENDMENTS: The PJC supports a bill to not allow landlords to charge a late fee if the tenant notifies them that their government assistance is late.

HB 494: Safe Neighborhoods Act
Hearing before the Environment and Transportation Committee
February 13, 2018
OPPOSE: The PJC opposes because contrary to the bill’s title, the objective of the bill is to strip tenants of due process rights and will increase evictions.

HB 832/SB 520: Minimum Trial Notice in Baltimore City Rent Court
House Environment and Transportation Committee
SUPPORT: The bill improves notice of trial in Rent Court cases in Baltimore City. The bill intends to prevent short-notice litigation and give renters critical time prepare for court. The PJC is leading on this bill, part of our rent court reform package.

HB 673: Debt Collection – Exemptions from Attachment
Hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, February 14, 2018
SUPPORT: The PJC supports HB 673, which would raise the debt exemption threshold to account for the increasing cost of living. Since low-income families often don't have emergency saving, they often incur debts when unexpected expenses arise. Raising the exemption threshold would allow workers to shield more of their earned wages from being garnished by creditors. HB 673 will make it less difficult for low-wage workers to provide for their basic needs.

SB 304: Amendments to the Healthy Working Families Act
Hearing of the House Economic Matters Committee, February 13, 2018
OPPOSE: This bill would delay the earned sick days bill until July. It went into effect February 11 after we successfully overrode the Governor’s veto.

SB 581: Criminal Procedure – Immigration – U Nonimmigrant Status and Enforcement
Hearing of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, February 14, 2018
SUPPORT: SB 581 would authorize law enforcement officials to process the Form I-918, Supplement B certification within 90 days after receiving a request from a victim or victim’s family for the victim’s U-visa application or within 14 days if the victim is facing deportation. As a simple matter of justice, the PJC supports the bill.

SB 397: Public Utilities – Apartment Houses and Commercial Buildings – Service Charge
Hearing of the Finance Committee, February 6, 2018
OPPOSE: The PJC is opposing a bill that would lift the $1 cap on surcharges that landlords are allowed to charge tenants when the landlord splits the cost of utilities between multiple tenants. 

SB 250: Landlord and Tenant – Prohibited Lease Provisions – Late Fees for Tenant Receiving Government Benefits
Hearing of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, January 30, 2018
SUPPORT WITH AMENDMENTS: The PJC supports requiring that landlords may not charge a 5% late fee if the tenant notifies the landlord that they are on a defined government benefit program and that the benefits have not arrived in time to make the rent payment on time.

SB 22: Debt Collection – Exemptions from Attachment
Hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, February 7, 2018
Hearing of cross filed HB 673, February 14, 2018
SUPPORT:  The PJC supports SB 22, which would raise the debt exemption threshold to account for the increasing cost of living. Since low-income families often don't have emergency saving, they often incur debts when unexpected expenses arise. Raising the exemption threshold would allow workers to shield more of their earned wages from being garnished by creditors. SB 22 will make it less difficult for low-wage workers to provide for their basic needs.

HB 635: Courts and Judicial Proceedings – Consumer Contracts
Hearing of the House Economic Matters Committee, February 7, 2018
SUPPORT: HB 635 would provide that “consumer contracts,” including residential leases, are not subject to a 12-year statute of limitations regardless of whether the magic words “under seal” are used. Almost all contracts and causes of action in Maryland are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. This limitation provides certainty to all parties that they are not going to be sued for an issue from many years ago. With a residential lease, a three-year statute of limitations provides a reasonable time in which any landlord or tenant can sue after a breach. 

MC 15-18: Montgomery County – Residential Leases – Just Cause
Hearing of the Montgomery County Delegation, February 9, 2018
SUPPORT: The PJC supports this bill, which requires a Montgomery County landlord prove just cause to evict a tenant, in part because Maryland retaliation law does not adequately protect tenants.