After a few back and forth battles on the City Hall and the court of law, the City finally got the upper hand over the landlords – to put a brake on how much the homeowners can charge the tenants on the rent they pay.
About a year ago, the City paid a consulting firm called Sage Policy Group to study rent Control in the City’s residential areas. Titled “There Remains a Rational Basis for Rent Stabilzation in College Park“, the group concluded this in its final report “Rental conversion continues, homeownership is falling and rents are on the rise. Research indicates that stable homeownership is associated with numerous societal benefits and that to the extent that homeownership declines, communities are less well-positioned to enjoy those benefits.”
According to the report, the number of houses converted from residential to rental have gone up while the same figure has gone down in the PG county and in the state.
The City acted to get a hold of this. In April, it arranged two public hearings to get feedback from the residents. Later it voted down a plan to lift the rent control. Though the City passed the rent stabilation legislation in 2005, it never enforced those plans. A lawsuit by landlords against the City was holding off the City to take firm action on this legislation. In December 2008, a Prince George’s County Circuit Court ruling rejected the lawsuit by the landlords. But the landlords appealed the ruling.
Late last month, the court upheld the claims that the ordinance unfairly penalized them while placing no such restrictions on owners of student high-rises that, in many cases, charge more than the landlords.
This finally clears the City to go ahead in enforcing the law. The City is now searching for volunteers who can be part of 8 members rent stabilization board.