Landlord Tenant Relations
Montgomery County takes the health and safety of tenants very seriously. The passage of a strengthened “Landlord-Tenant Relations” law on December 12, 2016, reaffirmed Montgomery County’s commitment to ensuring safe and healthy housing for all its residents. The “Landlord-Tenant Relations” law focused on the safety and livability of rental housing and established new tenant rights and responsibilities. Generally, the law requires:
- More transparent data about the current condition of rental properties inspected by DHCA
- Greater clarity and flexibility with leases
- Free meeting places for tenants to gather and form tenant organizations
- Expanded options for the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to address landlords who fail to quickly correct housing code violations
How DHCA encourages non-compliant landlords to quickly correct code violations:
1) Landlords of multifamily rental properties must correct all housing code violations by the first re-inspection to avoid civil citations and costly re-inspection fees. The first re-inspection usually takes place within 30 days for most code violations and within 24 to 48 hours for health and safety violations.
2) If code violations are not corrected by the first re-inspection, the property owner will receive the appropriate civil citations and will pay more for each round of re-inspections needed to confirm that all housing code violations have been corrected.
3) If a landlord fails to correct a housing code violation by the specified deadline, the DHCA Director may give tenants permission to use a licensed contractor to repair the housing code violation and deduct up to one month’s rent to cover the cost of the repair.
Inspection of Rental Housing
A key component of the “Landlord-Tenant Relations” law is the housing code inspection requirement. DHCA is required to inspect every multifamily rental property with two or more units by July 1, 2019. Renters can also request that their unit be inspected anonymously by calling 3-1-1.
Below you will find current data showing the progress that DHCA has made on inspections, including which properties have been inspected and properties with upcoming inspections. You can also find a summary of violations found at each property, a list of “troubled properties”, a link to the Annual Rental Survey, a summary of tenant rights resources, and other valuable landlord - tenant information.
If you have any questions or would like to obtain additional information, please let us know by calling us at 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311.
Below is a map of all multifamily rental properties under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County DHCA. The map identifies the progress and status of inspections at each community. The information below will be updated every 2 to 4 weeks.
Note 1: DHCA does not have jurisdiction over rental properties within 5 local municipalities: City of Gaithersburg, City of Rockville, Town of Barnesville, Town of Garrett Park, and the Town of Laytonsville. Note 2 : Only multifamily properties with two or more units are represented below.
Currently, there are over 680 multifamily rental properties in Montgomery County that contain over 73,000 units. The information shown here identifies the status and progress of DHCA's goal of inspecting all multifamily properties by July 1, 2019. This information will be updated every 2-4 weeks.
By the Numbers
The chart on the left represents the proactive inspections that have been initiated and carried out by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. This chart only includes inspection data from properties that have been "Inspected" or have an "Inspection in Progress."
This information will be updated every 2-4 weeks.
Properties Requiring More Frequent Inspections
Previously, each multifamily rental complex in the county was required to be inspected for housing code violations once every three years. However, county leaders recognized that there were some properties that needed to be inspected more frequently due to the historically high number and/or severity level of the housing code violations observed. These multifamily rental complexes are referred to as “troubled properties”.
The process of designating troubled properties is a strategic resource allocation method to help DHCA more effectively direct its limited housing code enforcement resources among the more than 680 multifamily rental properties in Montgomery County (which represents approximately 73,000 individual rental units).
In order to determine which properties will have more frequent inspections, DHCA is conducting a two-year “inspection surge” of all multifamily rental housing properties in the County. Under this surge, DHCA inspects a representative sample of rental units in every multifamily rental property to determine the current maintenance and livability conditions in all complexes. Based on an analysis of the two-year inspection surge results, DHCA has identified a list of multifamily rental complexes that will be inspected by DHCA at least once per year (“troubled properties”).
As established in Section 29-22 of the Montgomery County Code, a “troubled property” is one that DHCA will inspect at least once a year for housing code violations. This increased inspection frequency is required due to the higher number of and/or the severity of the housing code violations observed during DHCA’s most recent inspection of the property.
In addition, a troubled property must develop a corrective action plan that describes in detail the specific actions that will be taken to correct all housing code violations by the deadline established by DHCA. A troubled property must also submit a quarterly log of its internal maintenance calls upon the request of DHCA.
Definition of Troubled Properties
“Troubled property” is a term found in Chapter 29 of the Montgomery County Code. Essentially, a troubled property is a MF rental property which, because of the severity and quantity of housing code violations observed during DHCA’s most recent inspection of the property, is subject to annual inspections by the Department.
A property may also be designated as a troubled property if one or more of the following conditions are observed:
- Rodent or insect infestation affecting 20 percent or more of the units in the building;
- Extensive or visible mold growth on interior walls or exposed surfaces;
- Windows that do not permit a safe means of egress;
- Pervasive or recurring water leaks resulting in chronic dampness, mold growth, or personal property damage in more than one unit; and,
- Lack of one or more working utilities that is not shut off due to tenant non-payment.
Additionally, a property designated as troubled must develop and implement a corrective action plan that describes in detail the specific actions that the landlord will take within a specified time schedule to both identify and correct current and ongoing housing code violations in a timely manner and prevent future housing code violations to the greatest extent possible. A troubled property must also submit a quarterly log of its internal maintenance calls upon the request of DHCA.
How a Property is Designated as a Troubled Property
An individual multifamily rental complex is designated as troubled based on a comparison of its most recent inspection results with the results of all other multifamily properties inspected during the same time period. Each year, DHCA uses the results of the preceding year’s multifamily housing code inspections to calculate which properties should be designated as troubled. DHCA calculates two numerical scores for each property inspected: A Total Number of Violations (“TV”) score, and a Severity of Violations (“SV”) score. If a property’s scores exceed the annual limits established by DHCA, that property will be designated as a troubled property subject to annual inspections.
Additionally, properties with one or more of the following conditions will automatically be designated as troubled:
percent or more of the units in the building have rodent or insect
- DHCA finds
extensive or visible mold growth on interior walls or exposed surfaces
- Windows do
not permit a safe means of egress
- There are
pervasive or recurring water leaks resulting in chronic dampness, mold
growth, or personal property damage in more than one unit
- There is a
lack of one or more working utilities that is not shut off due to tenant
How the Troubled Property Designation Can be Removed
Once a year, DHCA will review the previous year’s inspection results of multifamily rental properties and will determine which of those properties will be designated as troubled properties that will receive annual inspections.
For this reason, the minimum amount of time a property will be designated as troubled is one year, or more specifically, until its next annual inspection is conducted and any observed violations are corrected. If the number and/or severity of any housing code violations found at the property during this second-year inspection do not exceed the limits set by DHCA, and once all the items on the corrective action plan have been successfully corrected, that property will no longer be designated as troubled.
Under Chapter 29 of the Montgomery County Code, the designation of “troubled property” is required for at least one year, but such designation is not indicative of whether the code violations cited at the property have been remediated. For that information, click HERE.
Ongoing Process, Ongoing Results
Each year, DHCA establishes a list of troubled properties subject to annual inspections by comparing the results of the previous year’s housing code inspections of multifamily rental properties. Multifamily properties that are not identified as troubled properties receive a minimum of one inspection within a three-year period.
The results of the most recent housing code inspection for any multifamily rental property in Montgomery County can be viewed in the report below. This report identifies the number and type of violations that were found at each property during the last inspection conducted by DHCA. The information below will be updated every 2-4 weeks.
Note: 1) Rockville and Gaithersburg are not under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County DHCA. 2) Only multifamily properties with two or more units are represented below.
Troubled Properties - Summary
of Inspection Results
The scatter plot below represents all multifamily rental properties in Montgomery County inspected by DHCA. The location of the circle representing a property is determined by the number of violations and severity of violations found during the last inspection of that property, in comparison with all other properties inspected during the same time period. Please note that properties with infestation rates of 20% or more will be inspected annually regardless of their Severity Index and Average Violation Per Unit values.
Summary of Community Inspection Results
Below is a report that identifies the number and type of violations that were found a the property during the last inspection conducted by DHCA. The visualization below will be updated every 2-4 weeks.
Troubled Properties List
The results of this ongoing initiative has been published as an open dataset on the County's Opendata platform, datamontogmery. To export the current results of the multifamily inspections, navigate to the menu button below.
Landlord Tenant Relations
addition to a more extensive inspection process, Bill 19-15 includes
several other improvements in tenant rights and protections. Those include
greater clarity and flexibility with leases, expanded options for DHCA to
deal with landlords who do not make mandated repairs in a timely manner,
and guarantees of free meeting places to gather and form tenant
organizations. Details, additional rights and protections, and resource
guides can be found below.
Watch “Montgomery al Día,” Montgomery County’s Spanish language live Radio Show, as the Department gives an update on recent operations and initiatives.
“Housing Code Inspectors Featured in Live Television Interview”
“Montgomery Al Día” recently interviewed three DHCA Housing Code Enforcement staff (Ivan Eloisa, Elba Benitez, and Marco Guillen) to discuss the code enforcement inspection process in Montgomery County under the new County Executive’s targeted directive to improve the upkeep and safety of multifamily rental properties.
Montgomery County Annual Rental Facility Occupancy Survey
Montgomery County Code Section 29-51 requires all landlords of rental housing to participate in the “Annual Rental Facility Occupancy Survey” conducted by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The survey is conducted from April 1 through April 30 each year and tracks vacancies, turnover rates, average rents, and rental property amenities. Facilities located within Montgomery County's unincorporated areas as well as the municipalities of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park participate in the survey. Vacancy and turnover rates are presented countywide and by market area.