RENTERS’ RIGHTS

Maryland State

When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The sojourners who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

— Leviticus 19:33-34

Every person, regardless of race or income, should have a safe and stable home. But some landlords think that their own profit is more important than safety and stability for Black and brown renters, and they let the buildings they own fall into disrepair, or throw whole families out on the street to try to squeeze more money out of the next renters. 

Ancient Jewish texts are full of laws about keeping homes safe for the people who live in them. The prophet Micah understood that housing is more than a roof over one’s head and that to deny a person safe housing is not only robbing them in the present but also robbing their family for generations to come.

JUFJ and our partners in Renters United Maryland have been fighting back against unfair laws, evictions, and unsafe conditions that renters are impacted by. Together, we’ve won things like emergency rental assistance, lawyers for renters facing eviction, holding landlords accountable to licensing requirements, and many other changes that keep families safely in their homes. This year, we can keep building a Maryland where everyone has a safe place to live.

Key Partners:

Legislative Details:

Just Cause Eviction (HB477 / SB644)

  • Nobody should lose their home because of the whims of their landlord. 
  • Landlords often retaliate against tenants who organize for their rights, demand that repairs be made, or complain about violations of laws about safe housing conditions. Sometimes this retaliation takes the form of refusing to renew their leases. 
  • “Just cause” laws protect tenants from this kind of retaliation, and from being evicted for no reason at all. These laws promote housing stability for tenants and neighborhoods.
  • This bill would allow counties to adopt “just cause” laws that meet local needs.
  • Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins is the long-time House sponsor of this bill and Senator Anthony Muse is the Senate sponsor.

Key Committees:

  • Senate Judicial Proceedings (JPR), Chair: Will Smith (Montgomery County)
  • House Environment and Transportation (E&T), Chair: Marc Korman (Montgomery County)

Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) works in coalition and partnership with grassroots and advocacy groups to build and win issue campaigns. Our approach is based on our commitment to racial equity and dismantling systems of oppression, which includes centering the leadership of our most directly impacted partners and being as transparent as possible about our agenda selection process. When we select campaigns, we keep in mind our goals of organizing and mobilizing our base, strengthening coalitions we are part of, and shifting the balance of power in our local communities. This year we have four full scope of work campaigns and we will engage in other campaigns in a more limited way.

  • For more information about our other full scope of work campaigns, click here.
  • For more information about our limited campaigns, click here.
  • For more information about our agenda setting process for the Maryland 2024 state legislative session, click here.

Related Events

  • Maryland Community Meeting

    March 6 | 7:30 pm9:30 pm

    Join us for our Maryland Community Meeting where we’ll discuss campaign updates and how we can best move our work forward! Join at 7:30 PM for JUFJ 101 if you’re newer to JUFJ, or for a schmooze session if you’re a returning JUFJer. The full meeting will begin at 8:00 PM. All are welcome!

  • Maryland Crossover Day Text Bank

    March 14 | 11:00 am12:00 pm

    Join us to text JUFJers to contact their legislators about our key priorities before crossover day. No prior experience necessary!

  • Maryland Purim 2024 / 5784

    March 17March 19

    Purim is a joyful Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of Queen Esther, who used her power to help her community during challenging times. We are packing 250 gift bags (half in Baltimore, half in Rockville) to deliver to statewide and Montgomery County elected officials. Join us in packing bag…

Maryland Staff