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Council to Vote on Expiring City’s Rent Control Law

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Council will consider 2 actions on City’s rent control law. The first will be about a vote on whether to sunset the law as of September 1, 2014. If the motion fails, there will be an introduction of ordinance to extend the law (without enforcement) for one more year.

I personally thank everyone who wrote to me about the law and I think time has come to sunset the ordinance for a number of reasons:

(1) The property owners are now working with the residents, students and other stakeholders as part of the neighborhood stabilization and the quality of life group to address the rental issues that caused the introduction of the law in 2005. It’s important that we treat all our stakeholders equally with respect, instead of using the rent control law as “a tool in the toolbox”

(2) The law has caused more conflict and frictions among various stakeholders than building a healthy relationship, costing City’s taxpayers thousands of dollars in litigation fees

(3) City needs investments in the housing sectors as the number of home sales in College Park has decreased by 67% since 2011 ( http://www.city-data.com/city/College-Park-Maryland.html ) . Many more houses in the city are now staying vacant for a longer period of time, causing more vacancy related code enforcement issues

(4) The law is against City’s goal to have students conveniently living at the growing number of student housing close to the campus (instead of residential neighborhood). Only a free market rental rate will ensure the higher occupancies in the existing and new student housing.

Please let me know how the Council should be voting at tomorrow’s meeting on this issue.

UPDATE June 18, 2014: The Council voted 5-3 to sunset the rent control ordinance. Council members Mitchell, Hew, Day, Dennis and Kabir voted YES and Council members Stullich, Brennan and Wojahn voted NO. I want to thank those who wrote to me or came to last night’s meeting and testified before the Council.

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