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Proposed Frederick, MD, rental licensing policies could curb harm from corporate landlords

May 9, 2023

A committee in Frederick, Maryland has recommended changes to the city’s rules for licensing rental properties. The committee’s suggestions fall in line with recommendations outlined in Private Equity Stakeholder Project’s recent report, Tools for Tackling Corporate Landlords: Landlord Registries, Licensing, and Proactive Rental Inspections.”

The Maryland committee has suggested that landlords should be required to register and obtain licenses for each of their properties. In addition, 15% of rental units in the city would be subject to random inspections each year under the recommendations. 

Crucially, the proposed changes would also require landlords to employ a local representative within 60 miles of Downtown Frederick. This is an essential step for combating large corporate investors with nationwide portfolios, some of which manage substantial housing stock remotely. This lack of local staff can make it difficult for tenants to resolve rent payment and home maintenance issues.

The committee has presented its eight recommended changes to a previous housing ordinance to the mayor and aldermen, who are expected to vote on the proposed changes at a meeting in June.

Private Equity Stakeholder Project supports local measures for increased regulation of rental properties. Under many current policies, poor data gathering and reactive building inspection processes facilitate mistreatment of tenants. Licensing and proactive inspections are crucial tools for improving tenant living conditions.

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