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Montgomery County Passes Bill Allowing Tenants to Break Lease for Code Violations

by Nena Perry-Brown

Montgomery County is giving renters in substandard conditions some leverage.

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill empowering tenants to break their lease if certain code violations in their apartment or in the common areas are not remedied within 30 days of a Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) order. The Landlord-Tenant Relations – Termination of Lease – Tenant Health and Safety bill would mandate that all new leases include a provision acknowledging this right.

“This bill extends needed protections to renters who, through no fault of their own, face unsafe conditions that have been ignored by their landlords,” Councilmember Tom Hucker, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

Under the bill, landlords would have 30 days to correct violations including visible interior mold growth, an infestation of rodents or insects affecting at least 20 percent of the building units, recurring water leaks, personal property damage in multiple units, or lack of utilities if tenant is not responsible. If not remedied in thirty days, a tenant could terminate their lease.

The bill was inspired by a White Oak apartment building that amassed over 2,600 housing code violations last winter and whose tenants sued the building owners.

See other articles related to: tenant rights, slumlords, montgomery county, code violations

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/montgomery-county-passes-bill-allowing-tenants-to-break-lease-for-code-viol/15587

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