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Report Calls For Rent Control In Montgomery County

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By Matt Bush

There are landlords in Montgomery County who increase rents substantially every year; now a report is calling for rent controls to stop them from doing so.

Matt Losak is the chairman of the county's tenant work group, which came up with the report. He says they found cases where landlords increased rent 30 percent from year to year.

Losak would like see the county enact a rent control law like there is in New York City. He says it would not have an adverse affect on landlords or developers looking to build new apartments.

"If you look in New York and you try to get an apartment in Manhattan, forget about it," he says. "They're expensive as all get out, and they're still rent stabilized."

But the person who received the group's report, county executive Isiah Leggett, doesn't support rent control. He'd rather see the county use the bully pulpit and out landlords who increase rents exorbitantly.

"We have not used the power of county government if you will, to expose them, and to work cooperatively with them," says Leggett. "They are benefiting, and have the ability to raise their rents, because of things we've done in places like Silver Spring. We've helped them with sidewalks, we've helped them with lighting, we've helped them with security."

Currently, the county does have voluntary rent increase guidelines, but Leggett admits those aren't working very well.

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