RENTERS’ RIGHTS

Montgomery County

Without a secure home, normal social relations fall apart, and happiness becomes impossible.  Homelessness brings with it fear, depression and a loss of grounding. The Book of Lamentations compares homelessness to the loss of a parent or spouse.  By contrast, the establishment of a permanent home promises lasting security. Thus, God’s ultimate promise to the Jewish people, articulated first in God’s covenant with Abraham, is the guarantee of a home: “I will establish a home for my people Israel and will plant them firm, so that they shall dwell secure and shall tremble no more.” (2 Samuel 7:10)

– Jill Jacobs, “There Shall Be No Needy” p.133-4

Housing is a human right. Everyone deserves housing that is affordable, safe, sanitary, and stable.

Yet legal protections for renters are weak. Laws provide little control over how much landlords and developers can increase rents in the County. Rents continue to rise while real income for working people has been in decline since 2008. This growing affordability gap, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is fueling an epidemic of evictions and driving thousands of residents out of Montgomery County.

Our County is facing an affordable housing crisis, and when more than a third of  residents are renters, all of us are impacted — especially the 50% of renters who spend a third or more of their income on rent. Housing insecurity also disproportionately impacts immigrants and trans and disabled people, as well as renters who live at or below the poverty line, earn a fixed or limited income, or did not qualify for pandemic-era emergency rental assistance funds because they could not prove pandemic-related loss of income.

JUFJ is working with partners and government officials to advocate for housing stability (providing due process legal protections for individuals and families facing the prospect of eviction), protections for renters, and the expansion of opportunities for the development of safe and affordable housing in our County. Montgomery County must reverse the trend that has led to the loss of 25,000 affordable rental units over the past 10 years. And we can advocate for more affordable, more available, and more secure housing for all.

Our housing partners include: CASA, Everyday Canvassing, Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America, and the members of the Montgomery County Racial Equity Network, in addition to our union partners at MCEA, MCGEO & SEIU Local 500, whose members have made housing a top issue.

Want to get more involved in this campaign? Contact an organizer.

Rent Stabilization

Housing advocates hold signs for the HOME Act

Since April 2020, JUFJ and our partners in the Montgomery County Racial Equity (MORE) Network have been fighting for pandemic-related emergency rent stabilization in Montgomery County. These protections expired in May 2022. Since then, rents and evictions have skyrocketed.

While solving the affordable housing crisis in Montgomery County will require a multipronged approach, an annual limit on rent increases, otherwise known as rent stabilization, can help keep thousands of renters housed right now. Already practiced in more than 180 jurisdictions nationwide, rent stabilization provides predictability that allows both tenants and landlords to plan.

The campaign for permanent rent stabilization is gaining momentum. Our coalition, which includes the MORE Network, labor unions, and direct service providers, supports the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act (Bill 16-23). The HOME Act was co-created by impacted tenants, community advocates, and housing experts, and would immediately curb the County’s current crisis of evictions and homelessness. Our coalition opposes competing rent stabilization legislation, the “Anti-Rent Gouging” Bill (Bill 15-23), which would effectively codify double-digit annual rent increases and result in significant displacement of families.

Learn more, get involved, and take action using the buttons below!

Recent Campaigns

Resources for Renters

Updates & Actions

Related Events

  • Montgomery County Housing Team Meeting

    February 26 | 7:00 pm8:30 pm

    Jewish sacred texts recognize that having safe, stable housing is key to a healthy society. Join us for our next Montgomery County Housing Team meeting to get updates about our ongoing campaigns, learn some organizing skills, and take action together.

  • Maryland Purim 2024 / 5784

    March 17March 19

    Purim is a joyful Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of Queen Esther, who used her power to help her community during challenging times. We are packing 250 gift bags (half in Baltimore, half in Rockville) to deliver to statewide and Montgomery County elected officials. Join us in packing bag…

  • Montgomery County Housing Team Meeting

    March 25 | 7:00 pm8:30 pm

    Jewish sacred texts recognize that having safe, stable housing is key to a healthy society. Join us for our next Montgomery County Housing Team meeting to get updates about our ongoing campaigns, learn organizing skills, and take action together.