Legal Alert

Rent Control, Junk Fee, and ROFR Update

by Roger D. Winston 
November 15, 2023

Our most recent Client Alert provided updates on our Rent Control Coalition, the new Howard County and Montgomery County ROFR and Rent Control legislation, new FTC Junk Fee proposals, and several other important matters impacting Multifamily Housing. Below are some further updates, including our current efforts relating to these matters.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) New Proposed Rule on Junk Fees

On November 28, Ballard colleagues Alan Kaplinsky, Roger Winston, and others will be presenting a webinar entitled, “The Biden Administration’s Junk Fees Initiative Continues: What the Latest Actions Mean for the Consumer Financial Services and Multifamily Industries”.  Launched in January 2022, the Biden Administration’s initiative, directed at combatting so-called “junk fees”, shows no signs of abating.  In this webinar, we will discuss the Administration’s latest salvo of actions, including “junk fees” imposed on rental housing tenants. If you are interested in attending (see further information below), please click this link to register.

Montgomery County ROFR Expansion

As discussed in our prior alert, recently introduced Expedited Bill 38-23 would allow the assignment of County ROFR rights to “qualified entities” – similar to the existing ROFR process in Prince George’s County and the process now being proposed in Howard County (see prior Client Alert).  We have been meeting with members of the Montgomery County Council and Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) staff to discuss our concerns and proposed alternatives.

Montgomery County Rent Control

As noted in our prior alert, Bill 15-23 was recently passed by the County Council and became effective last month. However, the law provides that new rent control requirements “must not apply, and must not be enforced” until the enabling regulations take effect. DHCA is in the process of preparing regulations, a prerequisite to implementing this law. We plan to meet with with Scott Bruton, the Executive Director of DHCA, to discuss client questions and concerns with this legislation, with the goal of encouraging regulations that address these questions and concerns. If there is anything you would like us to bring to his attention, please let us know.

Rent Control Coalition

Ballard Spahr represents about 35 multifamily stakeholders in connection with the multitude of rent control and other laws recently enacted or proposed. We have been closely monitoring the Supreme Court of the United States to see if it will grant certiorari to one or both of the Takings Clause challenges to the New York rent control law. We learned this week that SCOTUS once again declined to grant or deny certiorari for either of these cases. In addition to continuing to monitor SCOTUS, on these pending cases, we remain available to advise clients on strategies and options for complying with the myriad of new laws and regulations impacting multifamily ownership.

New Corporate Transparency Mandates

As noted in this important Alert, beginning on January 1, 2024, many U.S. legal entities and foreign entities, including real estate and multifamily entities, which are registered to do business in the U.S., will be required to report information about themselves, their beneficial owners, and their company applicants, pursuant to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). In response to client questions, we have compiled this Roadmap to summarize the CTA requirements.

Prince George’s County Security Camera Mandate

The County Council recently passed Bill 66-2023, requiring 24 hour security cameras in multifamily buildings of 100 or more units. Some of the requirements include that cameras have a minimum 1080p resolution, a 180 degree field of view, and be posted at all entrances, exits, and common areas, such as parking lots. The bill also provides that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may award a one (1) time rebate up to $5,000 to any multifamily facility that is subject to this new law for expenditures pertaining to the security camera requirements.

Should you have any questions or wish to provide any input on any of these matters, please contact us at,

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