The Dec. 11 Metro article “Baltimore eviction rate among highest in nation” reported on advocates’ efforts to change eviction procedures to allow Baltimore tenants to stay longer in rental housing even when they fail to pay their rent. One effect, of course, would be to make it even less attractive to offer and maintain rental properties in the hard-hit city.
Before going farther down such a road, it would help to review failures of existing Maryland housing policies.
For example, yielding to pleas from advocates for the poor, Maryland lawmakers, beginning in 2008, repeatedly inserted delays and obstacles into the foreclosure process, in contrast to the policy in neighboring Virginia and most other states.
Some of the results have been unforeseen and unwelcome. Most states rebounded from the foreclosure crisis that began seven years ago, but Maryland, having delayed this natural clearing process, now (according to RealtyTrac) has led the nation in the rate of foreclosure filings for two months in a row. Results have included persistent neighborhood blight and the entrenchment of non-paying occupants in what is sometimes luxury housing.
Maryland should find ways to extricate itself from past housing mistakes, not jump into new ones.
Walter Olson, New Market