MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Some Montgomery County council members want an annual maximum rent increase under a new proposal.

The Housing Opportunity Mobility and Equity (H.O.M.E) Act, also known as Bill 16-23, would also do the following:

  • Establish an annual maximum rent increase for rental housing in the County;
  • provide exemptions for certain buildings from rent stabilization requirements;
  • Permit a landlord to submit a petition for a fair rent increase;
  • Establish an excise tax for vacant rental units;
  • Specify the use of certain tax revenues for the acquisition of affordable housing; and
  • Generally amend County law concerning rent increase, landlord-tenant relations, and taxation.

In addition, the maximum allowance for a rent increase would be “up to 3% or the rental component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) percentage, whichever is lower.”

“Inflation and interest rates have made rent stabilization even more important, even if wage growth throughout the area keeps pace with inflation,” said Amy Millar, a spokesperson for a union representing approximately 9,000 workers in Maryland, primarily in public service. “There’s one member here…who just saw an increase in 20 percent of her rent…she was already at the peak of what she could afford.”

Some are against the proposal.

“I’m against any bill that stops us from being a free enterprise county,” said Larry Edmonds, a spokesperson for American Pest.

The bill will likely be voted on this summer.