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Sept. 30, 2017

Montgomery County officials aim to improve housing conditions

by Nene Narh-Mensah, Staff Writer
On Sept. 7, during a public event at Pooks Hill Tower and Court apartments in Bethesda, Montgomery County Executive Isiah (Ike) Leggett announced a program that aims to educate lower-income tenants of their rights as renters. The program, part of Expedited Bill 17-17 (Bill 17-17), also hired more than 12 new housing inspectors to identify dilapidated apartment buildings in violation of Montgomery County's housing code.
Ike Leggett announced a program that aims to educate lower-income tenants of their rights as renters. Courtesy of WTOP
Ike Leggett announced a program that aims to educate lower-income tenants of their rights as renters.

According to Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, who has created and sponsored housing legislation in the past, Elrich’s bill can drastically improve housing conditions in Montgomery County. "We can bring this housing stock up to a level of decency that it has not been at in many, many years," Elrich said to the Washington Post.

Bill 17-17, headed by Leggett, officially began this summer 2017. The county posted advertisements on public transportation and buildings, including buses and apartment complexes, to advertise. Each ad features a 3-1-1 hotline number which tenants can call to file anonymous complaints or receive help with resolving rental conflicts. Reporting poor housing conditions does not put tenants in any danger of losing their lease.

In August 2016 in Silver Spring, a fire erupted at the Flower Branch Apartment Complex, killing seven people, injuring at least 30, and leaving more than 100 people homeless for months. Today, the remains of the apartment complex is an empty lot. The Flower Apartment fire triggered the improvement of housing conditions Montgomery County.

Leggett's program goes hand-in-hand with housing legislation passed by the Montgomery County Council in 2016. Last November, the County Council approved a bill to improve a suburban section of housing. The bill required annual county-wide inspections of buildings that have violated multiple housing codes. Elrich’s bill builds upon the legislation passed last November.

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the Washington Post. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.



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