Eviction | WYPR

Eviction

CREDIT AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Baltimore City is applying for $2 million of rental assistance from the state tomorrow in the form of Community Development Block Grant Funds. 

City officials estimate that the $2 million would help about 333 households. But Valerie Piper, a city consultant for eviction prevention, acknowledged that nearly 10,000 households are in need. 

She said the state has about $16 million of block grant funds. 

SCREENSHOT VIA COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEUART PITTMAN FACEBOOK PAGE LIVE STREAM

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced an initiative Thursday to provide legal assistance to renters called “Operation Eviction Prevention.”

At a press conference in front of the Annapolis District Court building, Pittman said the county is partnering with nonprofits and attorneys to provide legal services.

Wikimedia Commons

  

New data from the District Court of Maryland and Department of Legislative Services shows that landlord-tenant court cases in Maryland have been on a gradual upward trend since 2005. The vast majority of those are eviction cases for failure to pay rent.

There have been fewer landlord-tenant court cases in 2020 because of eviction moratoria during the pandemic. But before the pandemic began, cases were increasing across the state. 

Wikimedia Commons

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan today, asking him to extend and expand on eviction protections.  

The letter requests that Hogan implement a moratorium on evictions until Jan. 31 and provide more rental assistance. 

“This is money that is, I believe, absolutely essential not just to the folks who are about to lose their homes, but to their landlords and everybody else,” Frosh said in an interview with WYPR.

The letter also asks Hogan to renew executive orders that protect Marylanders from debt collection and termination of utilities . 

The Daily Dose 5-18-20

May 18, 2020
AP/JULIO CORTEZ

Maryland doctors speak out against crowded immigration detention centers. City voters have to wait a bit longer to get their ballots. A new study highlights the risk of eviction for some black Baltimore residents. And Maryland’s transit system tries to accommodate essential workers safely.

Eli Pousson / Flickr

Black Baltimore residents are evicted nearly three times more often than white residents,  according to a new report by researchers at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Washington.

AP/Patrick Semansky

A Baltimore City Council bill to prevent landlords from increasing rent during declared emergencies passed Monday night. More than half of Baltimoreans rent their homes. 

The bill, called the Baltimore City COVID-19 Renter Relief Act, was first introduced by City Council President Brandon Scott in late April. 

The bill prohibits landlords from raising rent during the ongoing state of emergency and retroactively cancels rent increases that have gone into effect after March 5. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


Angel Lopez lost his job as a mechanic in Baltimore when business slowed due to the coronavirus  pandemic. Then his partner lost her part-time job cleaning houses. 

 

Lopez is undocumented, and his partner’s application for asylum is on hold while the courts are closed. As a result, they don’t qualify for unemployment, federal stimulus money, or Baltimore’s small existing rental assistance program.

During an interview in mid-April, Lopez said he wasn’t sure how he would pay for May’s rent. He said he was considering selling his car.

brads651/Flicker via Creative Commons

Each year, more than six thousand Baltimore renters are evicted. Landlords can start eviction proceedings the day the rent is overdue, and landlords take about a hundred and fifty thousand tenants to court. Tenant advocates say the system favors landlords and creates a “frictionless” path toward eviction. Representatives of property owners argue the process is already slowed by the volume of cases, and that slowing it further would place an unfair burden on landlords. Jessica Lewis, of the Right to Housing Alliance, and Kathy Kelly Howard, of Maryland Multi-Housing Association, take us through the eviction process, from both points of view, and to debate the merits of reforms proposed in the General Assembly.