On Tuesday the County Council will vote on rent stabilization legislation. Before the vote, supporters of the legislation rallied outside the Council building to show support for the bill. Credit: Elia Griffin

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:41 p.m. on July 20. A previous version said an individual—as opposed to a corporate entity—who owns four or fewer rental units in the county will be exempt from the legislation. Only individuals who own two or fewer rental units in the county will be exempt from the legislation.

7:30 p.m. The Montgomery County Council voted to pass permanent rent stabilization in a landmark decision Tuesday. Dozens of rent control advocates who waited over nine hours in council chambers cheered as the vote came, while at least one worried councilmember warned of “a cascading negative effect for generations.”

Bill 15-23 will cap annual increases at the region’s consumer price index (CPI) plus 3% , with a hard cap of 6% of the base rent.

“This a proud day,” said Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At-large). “It’s going to protect and provide stability for our residents. … This will be a historic day for not only Montgomery County, not only the state of Maryland, but the country. We’re one of the largest jurisdictions in the nation to do this.”

The vote was 7-4, with councilmembers Gabe Albornoz (D-At-large), Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1), Marilyn Balcombe (D-Dist. 2) and Dawn Luedtke (D-Dist. 7) voting against the legislation.

“We’d be naive to think that this isn’t going to have a substantial impact on the possibility of future growth of the county and will have a cascading negative effect for generations. We’re playing with fire,” Albornoz said.


The council spent over six hours deliberating on the legislation, mainly on 14 amendments that were put forward.

While some amendments dealt with technical language and were quickly and unanimously passed, others were more controversial and led to substantial debate among councilmembers.

The council voted against an amendment that would have increased the cap on rent increases from 6% percent to 9%. The council also voted to approve an amendment to restrict how much landlords can increase tenants’ fees.


An amendment crafted by Luedtke will exempt from the bill any unit owned by a “natural person” landlord, as termed by the legislation. That means an individual—as opposed to a corporate entity—who owns two or fewer rental units in the county will be exempt from the legislation. Another amendment will provide a 15-year exemption for buildings that “have been substantially renovated or rehabilitated,” per the amendment language.

But an amendment put forward by Albornoz to sunset the legislation after five years failed, essentially making the legislation permanent. — Ginny Bixby

MoCo Council continues to deliberate over rent stabilization


2:57 p.m. The day is shaping up to be a long one for the members of the Montgomery County Council as they negotiate rent stabilization bills and amendments. The meeting, which started at 9:15 a.m. and included a 30-minute break for lunch, was still going on as of 2:30 p.m.

While there were initially two competing bills, councilmembers are working toward a compromise on Bill 15-23. Council President Evan Glass (D-At-large) called the legislation “a balancing act.”

The two bills aim to limit how much a landlord can raise rents. Of the 11 councilmembers, two originally sponsored the HOME Act and six originally sponsored bill 15-23. A bill needs at least six votes to pass, and some councilmembers have been pulling in and out of sponsorships depending on amendments.


Four of 14 amendments were discussed in the morning. The council voted against an amendment that would have increased the hard cap on rent increases from 6% percent to 9%. The council also voted to approve an amendment to restrict how much landlords can increase tenants’ fees.

After returning from lunch, councilmembers chose to skip ahead to other agenda items with the intent of revisiting the rent control bills in the afternoon. Shortly before 3 p.m., the council resumed discussion on the bills. — Ginny Bixby

Protestors rally outside the County Council to demand the passing of rent stabilization


Rent stabilization supporters rallied outside of the Montgomery County Council building in Rockville early Tuesday morning, hours before councilmembers were scheduled to discuss and vote on rent stabilization legislation.

There are two bills in debate at the council that aim to limit how much landlords can raise rent, an effort to make housing more affordable for renters throughout the county. Around 50 members from various advocacy, labor, business, community service and faith organizations protested to show support for rent stabilization measures and housing as a human right.

Protestors standing on the steps of the County Council building chanted in Spanish, “Tener un techo es un derecho!” which translates to “Having a roof is a right!”


State Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Dist. 39) also attended Tuesday’s protest, sharing that as a renter he experienced a $400 increase in his rent.

“I’m here because I am a tenant. And I’m here because I recognize the predatory price gouging that is taking place. This is not fiction. This is not something of our imagination. This is something that your constituents are experiencing right now,” Acevero said, speaking to councilmembers. “And you can do something about it by passing a strong rent stabilization, no weakening amendment and sending a clear message.”

CASA member Jennifer Ventura said rent stabilization would help her family who has had to make the decision of paying rent or buying food for dinner. Credit: Elia Griffin

Jennifer Ventura, 20, of Silver Spring told MoCo360, “Renters and tenants need stability, and they need to have predictability for the future. They can’t just have a 20% increase on rent, that’s ridiculous.”


Ventura is a member of CASA, a D.C.-based immigrant organization, and a lifelong Montgomery County resident. She lives with her parents who are renters and said that she has seen rent increasing so much since the pandemic ended that at times her family has had to decide whether to buy food for dinner or keep living in their home.

On Monday, 40 different advocacy, labor, business, community service providers and faith organizations penned a letter urging councilmembers to pass rent stabilization. The letter also outlined six amendments to the bill that the organizations were opposed to, including, increasing the rent cap and a sunset date for the legislation.

At Tuesday morning’s protest, members of the organizations that signed the letter who attended the rally, including CASA; Jews United for Justice; Maryland Poor People’s Campaign; the local teachers union, Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA); the United Food and Commercial Workers union, local 400; and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Rebecca Rothstein teaches math at North Bethesda Middle School. She said teachers are leaving the Montgomery County Public Schools to teach in neighboring counties where it is more affordable to live. Credit: Elia Griffin

Rebecca Rothstein, a math teacher at North Bethesda Middle School attended the rally with the local teacher’s union, and said she supports rent stabilization because it will help Montgomery County Public School teachers afford to live in the county.

“Teachers are already leaving the county to work in other counties that pay pretty similarly, and the cost of living is much lower,” she said. Without rent stabilization measures, Rothstein said the county will lose teachers and students who can no longer afford to stay in the area. She hopes that the Council’s decision will result in capping rent increases at the same pace as inflation.

Nicole Zimmerman, a member of DSA, told MoCo360 that she would like to see the rent stabilization legislation pass because it would allow her and her partner to continue living in Downtown Silver Spring, where she has lived since 2014.

Nicole Zimmerman, a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America has lived in the county since 2014 and has found moving from her family-rented apartment increasingly difficult as rents increase. Credit: Elia Griffin

Zimmerman said that she currently rents an apartment from a family member but would like to move to a larger apartment because she and her partner work remotely. She said that rent increases since the end of the pandemic have made it difficult to find affordable housing.

“Passing rent stabilization would be a big help, [but] it’s not going to solve everything to keep housing affordable in Montgomery County,” she said. — Elia Griffin