Special Announcement to all Montgomery County, MD landlords:
On 04/20/2021, the Montgomery County Council passed Bill 49-20 that that limits “Housing Providers” in the county from asking about criminal record information.
Under the ordinance, the following restrictions, among others, will apply:
In connection with the application of any applicant for housing:
- A housing provider must disclose in any rental application:
- the processes the provider uses to inquire into the criminal history and credit history of an applicant; and
- requirements of the provider regarding an applicant’s credit history and criminal record report.
- Criminal records inquiry on application. A housing provider must not require an applicant to disclose on a rental application the existence or details of the applicant’s arrest record or conviction record.
- Preliminary inquiry into criminal record. A housing provider must not, at any time before the extension of a conditional offer to the applicant:
- require the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record, or otherwise has been accused of a crime;
- conduct a criminal record check regarding the applicant; or
- inquire of the applicant or others about whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record or otherwise has been accused of a crime.
- Prohibition against inquiry into certain criminal records. A housing provider must not at any time require an applicant to disclose, conduct a criminal record check solely to determine, or otherwise inquire of the applicant or others, whether:
- the applicant has been arrested for, or has an arrest record for, a matter that did not result in a conviction; or
- the applicant has an arrest record or a conviction record for, or otherwise has been accused of:
- trespass under §§ 6-402 or 6-403 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code;
- theft as a misdemeanor under § 7-104 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code;
- a refusal or failure to leave public buildings or grounds under § 6-409 of the Criminal Article of the Maryland Code;
- indecent exposure under § 11-107 of the Criminal Article of the Maryland Code;
- public urination under § 32-17-A of this Code;
- an open container violation under § 10-125 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code;
- possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor or civil violation under Title 5 of the Criminal Article of the Maryland Code;
- a first conviction of disturbance of the peace or disorderly conduct under § 10-201 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code;
- a vehicle law violation under the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code;
- except as provided in subsection (g), a conviction of a misdemeanor if at least 2 years have passed since:
- the date of the conviction; and
- the date that any period of incarceration for the misdemeanor ended;
The full text of this ordinance is available here: Bill 49-20
This law will require a review of the rental process in place and may require changes to that process. Justifacts recommends that you consult with your legal department to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your process in order to comply with this law.
It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.