Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced the formation of the County’s first Tenants Work Group (TWG) to research and analyze renter concerns and make proposals that may include housing code revisions, state and county legislation and enhanced communication. The group will be comprised of 15 members, including property owners, representatives of tenant and community groups and County and state government.
“More than a quarter of Montgomery County residents live in rental properties,” said Leggett. “Renters, like homeowners, are facing several challenges – challenges aggravated by the current economic uncertainty. Renters have expressed concerns about the increasing decline in affordable rental housing, an increased sense of housing insecurity, a lack of effective relationships with some landlords and concern that some properties are not maintained at a level that is desirable, or in some cases, compliant with County codes.”
While property owners and homeowners often have formal associations to provide forums for their members, Leggett formed the work group to provide tenants with an official forum to discuss their concerns and issues.
The Montgomery County Tenants Work Group will look into these issues and provide recommendations for solving problems and enhancing the quality of living for renters in the county.
“It is important that renters know that living in Montgomery County means their homes will remain affordable year in and year out, that rental communities will maintain minimum quality living standards protected by the County code. Renters should enjoy life in our community without fear of losing their housing without just cause, and can reasonably seek remedies when some landlords fail to maintain quality living environments,” Leggett said. “Rental properties are an important part of the continuum available to our residents. I believe the tenant working group will help the County to advance this goal.”
According to 2005 Census data, more than 25 percent of households in Montgomery County are rental units. Rental units are located throughout the county, but there are concentrations of rental properties in Silver Spring (10,000+), Rockville (6,000+), Takoma Park (6,000+), Wheaton (6,000+), Bethesda/Chevy Chase (10,000+), Germantown (6,000+) and Gaithersburg (13,000+).
Leggett announced the appointment of Matt Losak to chair the group. A Silver Spring resident, Losak is the president of the Colespring Plaza Tenants Association and has been a leading activist on tenant issues.
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