Maryland Governor Pitches Housing Incentives, Eviction Protection

Gov. Wes Moore also budgets $115M for affordable housing to ease shortages

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has released a three-part plan to address the housing crisis in the state via a legislative agenda and the 2024 budget — including efforts to expedite development plans and attract federal funds for housing.

“You cannot continue to have economic growth if we continue to have a housing crisis,” Moore said in a prepared statement. 

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The housing shortage in Maryland is acute, with a shortage of approximately 96,000 units, according to the governor’s office. That figure is expected to increase.

“Over the last 10 years, Maryland has significantly under-produced housing, which has added to this shortage at a rate of 5,600 units per year on average,” a memo from Moore’s office read. “The supply shortage also makes it difficult for Marylanders to become homeowners.”

To address the issue, the governor has proposed three bills that would attempt to expand available housing, attract federal funding for development initiatives and enhance protections against eviction for renters. 

One bill is the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act of 2024, which aims to incentivize new affordable housing development by permitting properties to be developed with higher density and in a “more expeditious manner” if developers guarantee a certain amount of affordable housing.   

Another piece of proposed legislation is known as the Housing and Community Development Financing Act. It would create the Maryland Community Investment Corporation, offering $50 million in federal funding for loans or capital to develop and maintain affordable communities. 

A third bill, the Renters Rights and Housing Stabilization Act, aims to better protect renters from evictions and give them an opportunity to acquire a rental property if the property owner decides to sell it. As part of the legislation, an Office of Tenant Rights would be established to advocate on behalf of the renters. Washington, D.C., has a similar program.  

Additionally, this bill would eliminate evictions during extreme weather conditions or other public health emergencies. 

The bills are expected to be introduced to Maryland’s General Assembly next month.

As part of his $63.1 billion budget proposal, Gov. Moore also requested an additional $115 million for housing and community revitalization initiatives over the next fiscal year, a 66 percent increase from last year, according to his office. 

“This budget is a reflection of our shared aspirations — our aspirations to make Maryland safer, to make it more affordable, to make it more competitive and to make it the state that serves, and we are going to realize these aspirations in a fiscally responsible way,” Moore said Wednesday at a news conference regarding the budget.

The governor is hoping to achieve those initiatives while avoiding tax increases and reducing the deficit, he said. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.