LA PLATA, Md. – On Thursday, November 12th, the Charles County state delegation will be voting on legislative proposals, which will directly affect your property rights and the cost of all housing in Charles County. The question is how much more are you willing to pay to live in Charles County?
The first proposal is a rental registration program, requiring a property owner to pay a registration fee, an inspection fee, and various maintenance requirements. An owner will be fined for not being registered and will not be able to evict a tenant, even for failure to pay rent, unless the registration and inspection requirement have been fulfilled. For those owners who do not comply, the county will have the authority to fine you. The county has estimated 15,000 rental units- all which will be required to register – of which, only 60 had a complaint in 2019. Of those 60, half were resolved quickly. This ordinance has been proposed to increase enterprise revenues and to resolve the 0.2% of all units with a complaint. With the highest county property tax rate in the state of Maryland, providing $241.2 million of the county’s operating budget, haven’t you paid enough? Homeowners have paid more than their fair share.
If you are a Charles County renter, your rent just went up, at one of the worst economic times in our history. According to the Charles County United Way ALICE Report of 2018, pre-pandemic, 36% of all Charles County households struggle to afford basic needs, including paying rent or mortgage. 37% of this group are families with children and 51% are senior citizens. Specifically, Indian Head 56% struggle; Waldorf 40%; Bryan’s Road 41% and La Plata 41%. How much more can your family afford?
National studies show when a rent stabilization (the second proposal) or rental registration policy passes, the jurisdiction loses 15% of its rental supply. Charles County residents literally cannot afford to lose 2,250 units much less double- and its why economists agree, its bad policy.
Rent stabilization has a ripple effect on our community- it has been shown to be extremely difficult and expensive to administer by the local government; lost revenues under rent stabilization reduce the ability for the owner to maintain and improve the property; it creates market distortions and allocates housing inefficiently, often missing the same segment it is seeking to assist; and rent stabilization discourages the offering of new units in the private sector. All would be devastating in our market. As residential rentals lose value due to the restriction on the rents, property tax
assessments decrease along with the property tax base. Other property owners will pay more in taxes as a result. This proposal will have a financial impact on our entire community at large. We MUST stand up together to say NO.
As a Charles County resident for over 45 years, I am a proud Realtor® who has chosen to live here, work here and raise my family here in Charles County. And like many of you, this home votes. Now is the time for us to work together and help our neighbors On behalf of the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors®, and our 1,800 professional members representing the real estate industry and our region’s housing market, I urge my fellow neighbors to call your State Delegates and Senators to DEMAND them to vote NO on rental registration and rent control for Charles County.
The Maryland Statehouse can be reached at 301-858-3000.
President, Board of Directors
Southern Maryland Association of Realtors®