Montgomery County reopens its Rent Relief Portal

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There is a growing number of renters who are being impacted by the rising cost of rents for their homes with Montgomery County, and even have eviction notices for non-payment due to COVID-related fallout.

To address this situation, which has worsened in recent weeks, the county executive, Marc Elrich, announced on Monday the reopening of the Rent Relief Portal in that jurisdiction, the most populous in Maryland.

Erlich noted that this latest round of rental assistance grants is available to those who are two months or more behind on rent due to a COVID-19 related reason. To do this they have to apply on the county website.

“The skyrocketing rents can displace people and lead to homelessness, something we must avoid as much as possible,” the Montgomery executive said in a message to residents.

In this regard, he announced that before the end of June, which was the previous deadline, 1,157 applications were received from tenants in that situation. “And in just 45 days, more than 4,000 applicants sought assistance,” he noted.

Elrich explained that “we are still processing those requests,” although he clarified that they are not being processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are still evaluating the best way to spend the $25 million available in aid,” he said. However, he noted that “sadly, we are seeing some people who did not file their applications, who are now coming in with their eviction notices.” In this regard, he said that the county “is also trying to help them as much as possible.”
Marc Elrich urged the community to call 311 for more information on whether they qualify, as well as to check the status of an application or how to start and continue an application that was not completed and submitted.”

Later, the Montgomery executive highlighted that last week he joined the community organization CASA, “whose members mobilized to support my temporary rent stabilization bill in the County Council.”

On that occasion, more than a dozen speakers from different sectors of the county gave their testimonies about the challenges they would face if their rents were to rise substantially, as some landlords and property managers have already announced.

“Other tenants are realizing after years of living in the same apartment, that their leases won’t be renewed, which is why we’ve been pushing to pass a statewide ‘just cause eviction law,’” he said. Elrich.

“Huge rent increases and arbitrary lease terminations threaten family stability,” he said.
In that sense, he said that his proposal seeks to establish limits for rent increases at 4.4 percent for six months. “We need to make sure that the people who live in the most vulnerable buildings for redevelopment are protected,” the executive said, adding that “people who earn less can’t be priced out of their homes, they can’t be you can expect middle-income renters to suddenly spend so much of their monthly budget on housing.”

“My proposal -he said- establishes reasonable increases”.
The project is due to be debated by members of the County Council in September, when they return from their recess.

“I hope they will act very soon when they return and I appreciate the support of Councilman Will Jawando in this effort,” he said, after warning that “with each month that passes without this legislative action, more residents are at risk of losing their homes.”

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