Baltimore City Council members unanimously passed a resolution Monday calling on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to extend the state’s moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution, which is non-binding and co-sponsored by 10 council members, requests Hogan to extend a moratorium on evictions and to require landlords to work with tenants to apply for rental assistance prior to filing eviction.
The moratorium, which had been in place since March 2020, previously allowed tenants who were facing eviction to forestall losing their homes by explaining lost income due to the pandemic. The moratorium expired Sunday along with Maryland’s state of emergency.
Democratic Councilwoman Odette Ramos, the resolution’s primary sponsor, said Baltimore officials have done their part to protect renters during the pandemic. The board expedited passage of the Monday’s resolution due to the expiration.
“This resolution is asking Governor Hogan to do his part on this crisis,” Ramos said. “We have done ours and continue to do ours.”
The new federal order may bring some relief, although its implementation is logistically challenging. The order only bans evictions in areas that have “substantial and high levels” of coronavirus transmission. That’s a standard set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control by calculating how many new cases are diagnosed per 100,000 residents and the seven-day average testing positivity rate, numbers that are constantly in flux.
As of Monday, Baltimore had a substantial transmission rate as did several surrounding counties.