Ensuring Housing Safety

Montgomery County is a great place to live. With the passage of Bill 19-15 on December 12, 2016, Montgomery County reaffirmed its already resolute promise to maintain safe and healthy communities. The legislation is focused on the safety and well-being of residents of rental housing and establishes new tenant rights and responsibilities. The Tenant Rights bill also mandates more transparent data about the condition of rental properties, provides greater clarity and flexibility with leases, guarantees free meeting places for tenants to gather and form tenant organizations, and expands options for the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to deal with landlords who do not make mandated repairs in a timely manner.
One such option to deal with non-compliant landlords is to charge inspection fees. Multifamily rental property owners must correct housing code violations by the first re-inspection. If problems persist, property owners will receive citations and will pay for all subsequent inspections based on an escalating fee schedule. Another option is to allow tenants to make their own repairs. If landlords fail to correct a housing code violation timely, the DHCA Director may authorize tenants to repair the violation and deduct up to one month’s rent. 
The key component of the Tenant Rights Bill is the inspection requirement. DHCA is required to inspect every multifamily apartment building in the County by July 1, 2019. Renters can also request their unit be inspected anonymously. Results of these inspections have been used to establish the “Troubled Properties List.” Properties on The List are subject to at least annual inspections and are required to develop a corrective action plan to address code violation. 
Below you will find real-time data that demonstrates the progress DHCA has made on inspections, including which properties have been inspected and projects with upcoming inspections. You will also find a summary of violations found at each property, the Troubled Property List, a link to the Annual Rental Survey, a summary of tenant rights resources, and other valuable landlord - tenant information. 
If you would like to see additional features, please let us know by calling us at 3-1-1. 

Click Here to learn more about the Mediation and Advocacy elements of the Renters have Rights Campaign. 

Inspection of Rental Housing 

Multi-Family Inspections 

Below is a map of Montgomery County MD indicating all of the Multi-Family Facilities under the jurisdiction of  Montgomery County DHCA. The map identifies the progress and status of inspections at that property and the boundaries of the five Montgomery County Council Districts. The visualization below will be updated every 2-4 weeks. 
Note: 1) Rockville and Gaithersburg are not under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County DHCA.  2) Only Muti-Family Properties with two or more units are represented below.

Progress Report

There are over 680 multi-family rental facilities in Montgomery County that contain over 70 thousand units. The Visualization shown here identifies the status  and progress of DHCA's goal of  inspecting all Multi-Family Properties by  July 1, 2019 as they continue to ensure safe and inhabitable conditions for Montgomery County Renters. This visualization 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 since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016). 
This visualization will be updated every 2-4 weeks.

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 689 multifamily (MF) rental properties in Montgomery County (which represent approximately 77,000 individual rental units).
During the deliberations leading up to the adoption of tenant rights legislation in the County (Bill 19-15), several scenarios were proposed that would enable DHCA to conduct more frequent and rigorous housing code inspections of MF rental properties in the County.  At that time, the county code required DHCA to inspect each MF rental property at least once every three (3) years.  One such scenario proposed required DHCA to inspect every rental unit in every MF rental property at least once each year to identify housing code violations; however, a financial analysis of this proposal found that it would be prohibitively expensive.
Ultimately, a compromise was reached whereby DHCA would conduct a two-year “inspection surge” of all MF rental housing properties in the County.  During the surge, DHCA would inspect a sample of units in every MF rental property in the County to establish a “baseline” of conditions in all complexes.  DHCA would also develop a methodology to be approved by the County Council to determine which properties would be considered “troubled properties” based on the results of the surge inspections.  Therefore, in lieu of an annual inspection of every unit in every MF rental property in the County, 100 percent of the units in every property designated as a troubled property would receive an annual inspection

 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.

Property Inspection Frequency 

The scatter plot shown below represents all Montgomery County Rental Properties under the purview of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs based the number of violations and severity of violations found during the last inspection completed at that property. The results of these inspections will dictate the frequency and priority of each properties next administrative inspection. 

How a Property is Designated as a Troubled Property

An individual property is designated as troubled based on a comparison of its most recent inspection results with the results of all other properties inspected during the same time period.  Each year, DHCA uses the results of the preceding year’s MF housing code inspections to calculate which properties should be designated as troubled.  DHCA calculates two numerical scores for each MF property inspected: The Total Number of Violations Score (the “TV” Score), and the Severity of Violations Score (the “SV” Score).  If a property’s scores exceed the annual thresholds established by DHCA, that property will be designated as a troubled property and it will receive annual inspections.

How the Troubled Property Designation Can be Remove

 A property designated as troubled may have the designation removed at that time its annually calculated TV and SV scores no longer exceed the thresholds at which properties are designated as troubled and all of the items on the corrective action plan have been successfully completed.   The minimum amount of time a property will be designated as troubled is one year.  This means that a property that has been designated as troubled in Year 1, will have that designation until a subsequent annual inspection of that property produces scores that do not exceed the established thresholds.

 Ongoing Process

 Each year, DHCA will establish a list of troubled properties subject to annual inspections.  Since this process was adopted in lieu of inspecting each unit in each MF rental property each year, there will always be a list of properties that receive an annual inspection.  MF properties that do not have annual inspections will still receive a minimum of one inspection within each three-year period.
 

Troubled Properties 

Below is a map of Montgomery County MD indicating all of the multi-family facilities under the jurisdiction of  Montgomery County DHCA. The map identifies the results of historical inspections administered by the Department at that property and the proposed frequency of future inspections. The map also shows the boundaries of the five Montgomery County Council Districts. The visualization below will be updated every 2-4 weeks. 
Note: 1) Rockville and Gaithersburg are not under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County DHCA.  2) Only Muti-Family Properties with two or more units are represented below.

Summary of Facility 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. 

Landlord Tenant Relations 

  • In 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.
Tenant Rights Resources
Click Here to visit the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs Tenant Resources Page.


Watch “Montgomery al Día,”  Montgomery County’s Spanish language live Radio Show, as the Department gives an update on recent operations and initiatives. 

Montgomery County Annual  Rental Survey

Annually, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs,through its Licensing and Registration unit surveys all Montgomery County multi-family rental facilities on tenant services, unit sizes, rent levels, occupancy and characteristics about structure types including age.