House Bill 545 introduced in Maryland
On February 3, Delegate Stephen Lafferty introduced House Bill 545 (“HB 545”). The bill requires all landlords that use an allocated or ratio utility billing system (“RUBS”) for water and sewer charges to residents. Additionally, the bill limits the amount that landlords that use a submetered billing methodology can pass through to residents for administrative fees to two dollars ($2.00). These provisions will negatively impact owners and operators in Maryland significantly. Landlords that violate the terms of the bill, if it becomes law, would be subject to a one thousand dollar ($1,000.00) penalty or the actual damages incurred by the resident and attorney’s fees. The bill would not prohibit the use of RUBS in Montgomery County, or any other County that has existing regulations regarding the use of RUBS.
This bill is far more restrictive than existing law in Maryland. The bill received a first reading and an initial hearing, where the bill did not appear to have a high level of support. NWP will continue to monitor the legislation and work with local associations to oppose the bill.