Activists rally for ‘Rent Court’ reform amid thousands of Baltimore evictions

Dozens of people rallied Tuesday in downtown Baltimore, calling for reform to a system that they say unfairly threatens thousands of families with quick evictions annually.
News Story (Maryland)

Luke Broadwater
Baltimore Sun
December 9, 2015

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Landlord-Tenant, Rent Court

Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Justice Center (PJC)


“This is a crisis every year,” Jessica Lewis, co-founder of the Right to Housing Alliance, said of the Baltimore District Court’s treatment of renters. “150,000 renters are dragged through the court every year. That’s more than the rental population of Baltimore. We need to fix this court.”

The rally came after the Public Justice Center and the Right to Housing Alliance released a study this week that said more than 6,000 Baltimore renters and their families are evicted from their homes annually. In 2013, 156,376 renters were threatened with eviction — a rate higher than any other major American city except Detroit.

The evictions are ordered in Baltimore District Court from a docket known as “Rent Court” that largely favors landlords, the study concluded. The system often ignores poor conditions that would justify a tenant’s decision to withhold payments, the study’s authors wrote.