Proposed Rent Control in Salisbury - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Rent Control in Salisbury

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For Rent sign in Salisbury's Camden Avenue neighborhood (Photo: Bill Mich) For Rent sign in Salisbury's Camden Avenue neighborhood (Photo: Bill Mich)

SALISBURY, Md. - Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton on Wednesday unveiled his proposed legislation to control rent prices in the city. The mayor believes neighbors have been paying too much in rent and controlling rent prices would put $8 million back into Salisbury's economy.

In the Camden Avenue neighborhood in Salisbury, you'll find hard working families and college students often renting homes and they'll tell you, they're paying too much each month.

"I've been in this neighborhood for a little while.  The whole time I went to school and I've seen a couple of families in the area get evicted because they just couldn't keep up with the rent," said Ron Falcone of Salisbury.

Falcone said he shares his monthly cost with a roommate because he would not be able to afford the monthly rent on his own.  It's that monthly hardship that Ireton is trying to do away with in Salisbury.  The mayor's legislation calls for linking rent to a property's assessable base.  For example, a home assessed at $77,000 would have a monthly rent rate of $468 instead of the current rate of $1,000.

The mayor believes this legislation would help turn Salisbury around.

"I think it puts money into the economy. It makes it so that the rental property, if fixed up, the rent could go higher, that's good for the city. It reduces the number of code violations that we have in the city. And the fourth thing, I think it allows people to start to save and move towards homeownership," Ireton said. 

However, some landlords don't agree with the proposed legislation.  Sam Miller has rental properties in the city of Salisbury and told WBOC he doesn't believe the city should be able to dictate what a landlord can or cannot charge a tenant.

The Salisbury City Council is scheduled to discuss the proposed legislation at their meeting on Oct. 5.  Even if the legislation is passed sometime in the future, it will be quite some time before rent stabilization is implemented in Salisbury.  The legislation calls for the creation of a rent stabilization board that would oversee rent prices in the city.  That board would need to be created and have its bylaws established before any work could begin. 

Tenants and landlords would be able to petition the board to either raise or lower their monthly rent rates and the board would make the final decision.  That rent stabilization board would be made up of seven members, including one tenant and one landlord in the city of Salisbury.

Editor's Note: After this story was written and television story aired, WBOC was contacted by Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton.  Mayor Ireton told WBOC that if the legislation is passed by the Salisbury City Council, the Mayor believes the city can start the rent stabilization program by July 1st of 2016.  Mayor Ireton says that is his goal for the rent legislation.

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