Landlords of small rental properties in Baltimore are now getting their apartments inspected under a new city law aimed at improving housing conditions in low-income neighborhoods.
Owners of rental properties with one or two units will have to pass a 20-point checklist before Jan. 1 to obtain a license to rent in the city.
That requirement previously applied only to Baltimore’s approximately 6,000 multifamily dwellings with three or more units. But most of the city’s code violations for no heat, mold, rodents and other health risks are found in the one-and-two-unit properties that make up half of Baltimore’s rental market.
“This is huge,” said Ruth Ann Norton, president and CEO of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. “The majority of our health problems that come out of housing come out of the small rental properties. They’re often the ones that have escaped oversight in terms of health issues, lead, asthma and injury.”
City officials agree. In a notice to landlords, Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development said the law “is a major step toward improving the overall quality of the housing stock.”
“The city is working to ensure that tenants have healthier, safer places to live,” the department said.