One year ago, the Baltimore County Council approved a pilot program to hold landlords in six neighborhoods surrounding Towson University accountable when their tenants host “unruly social gatherings.” Some property owners weren’t initially happy with the proposal — landlords of disruptive renters could face citations costing hundreds of dollars and requiring tens of hours of community service if problems became chronic — but they eventually supported the measure.
Today, that looks like a good call. Since the law went into effect, complaints about disruptive parties in neighborhoods like Towson Manor Village and Burkleigh Square are down substantially — last August, for example, there were just three compared to 21 the year before, according to Towson University. Baltimore County police and the state’s attorney see signs of improvement as well. Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that other nearby communities including Riderwood Hills, Loch Raven Village and Rodgers Forge want to join the list and the County Council is likely to approve the expansion later this month.
That sounds like a good idea. Landlords in those neighborhoods may not be wild about this new obligation (just as there was opposition to the pilot program a year ago), but it hardly seems beyond the pale to hold them accountable under the circumstances. That law already gives landlords the benefit of the doubt — tenants must be penalized first; landlords get a warning on first offenses. But it’s also a matter of property owners looking out for their own interests as disruptive tenants are likely to be damaging the property as well.
I enjoy teading what you have to say on a wide range of topics. And, as a retired Higher Education professional,
would like to share my thoughts.
Shouldn’t laws insisting upon good behavior of residents and accountability of landlords apply to the entire community? Will the kind of behavior that’s unacceptable in some parts of our community be acceptable in others? Laws should be written to be universal and universally applied.
Perhaps if civic responsibility and basic civility were taught at home and throughout ones’ education there might eventually be fewer instances of parties getting out of hand. College, for too many young people, has become more about socializing, partying, and kicking back and less about becoming an adult with a well rounded education. The causes are many, but the outcome is often the same everywhere.
Perhaps colleges and universities should include proof of good behavior, as well as academic aptitude and ability to pay. Doing so might make it possible to remove those who can’t or won’t maintain the acceptable grade, just as it does in the classroom or finance office of the institution.
In the language of days gone by, disruptive behavior was called “Disturning the Peace” and it applied to everyone, everywhere in the community. Not living in a house, but letting others live there, should not excuse an owner from what goes on there anymore than it excuses the residents.
Times may have changed, but what happened to the concept of knowing how to “act like a grown-up” and preparing to be a responsible person. Shouldn’t laws insisting upon good behavior of residents and accountability of landlords apply to the entire community?
Just to be clear: I don’t write any of the articles posted on the GTCCA website. Most of them come from other publications such as the Baltimore Sun, Towson Times, Towson Flyer, etc. Click on the link at the bottom of the excerpt to read the full article on the source website.