Bill Introduced That Requires Air Conditioning For All Rental Units in the County

A bill that will require air conditioning for all rental units in Montgomery County has been introduced.

 

Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 24-19, Landlord – Tenant Relations – Obligations of Landlord – Air Conditioning, and they say it will improve living conditions for renters throughout the county. Councilmember Tom Hucker, who serves as chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee, is the lead sponsor of the bill while Councilmember Will Jawando is a cosponsor of the bill.

Extreme heat can be just as deadly to vulnerable residents as extreme cold,” Hucker said. “Yet, the County Code only has a limit on how cold an apartment can get. As climate change worsens, we are going to see hotter days for longer periods of time, so it will be more important than ever that tenants have access to a safe and cool environment.” 

This comes after many residents who rent older and more affordable housing units reported not having access to consistent air conditioning. This new bill requires individual air conditioning units, or a central air conditioning system, to be maintained in good working order to provide an inside temperature of eighty degrees or less from May 1 through September 30 each year. Currently county law requires that each rental unit be able to maintain a minimum temperature of 68 degrees but doesn’t mandate a maximum temperature. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 600 people die every year nationwide from heat related illnesses. Lat year in Montgomery County, approximately 800 cases of heat-related illnesses were reported from May 22 through September 17.

If a landlord does not comply with the new law tenants may file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the landlord may face a fine of $500. 

Bill 24-19 is part of Hucker’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for renters across the County. In June the Council unanimously enacted Bill 6-19, Landlord – Tenant Relations – Termination of Lease – Tenant Health, which was also sponsored by Hucker. This bill requires each lease for rental housing in the County to allow the tenant to terminate the lease, if the landlord doesn’t correct conditions that impact the immediate health and safety of a tenant in a tenant’s unit or in a common area within 30 days.

 

Tenants deserve quiet, quality, comfortable and healthy places to live,” said Matt Losak, executive director of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance. “We are grateful for Councilmember Hucker’s attention to air conditioning standards as temperatures continue to rise alongside the increasing population of renters in our county, especially senior renters. This legislation is long overdue.”

 

A public hearing on Bill 24-19 is scheduled for September 10 at 1:30 p.m. Click here to watch video of Councilmember Hucker’s remarks on Bill 24-19. 

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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Jordan Lindsay

About Jordan Lindsay

Jordan Lindsay is a Reporter for My MC Media. Let her help tell your story by emailing jlindsay@mymcmedia.org

Comments

One Response to “Bill Introduced That Requires Air Conditioning For All Rental Units in the County”

  1. Avatar
    On July 17, 2019 at 8:58 am responded with... #

    Baltimore City’s health department has been declaring code red emergencies more frequently, because of the extreme heat and humidity residents have been dealing with. As a tenant advocate, I’m thrilled Montgomery County is acting on this issue, and making air conditioning for tenants a priority. When temperatures reach dangerous levels outside, it’s even hotter indoors — seniors, small children, and people with chronic health conditions are at greater risk for heatstroke and trips to the emergency room. Air conditioning should no longer be considered a “non-essential service”, as it could literally save lives.

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