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1. What is the purpose of PGPOA?
PGPOA was created to serve the interests of its members - mostly College Park, Maryland rental property owners. It serves as a central clearinghouse to keep members aware of what's happening in College Park with respect to current, pending or proposed City and Prince George's County codes and legislation. Members benefit from the experiences of other members.
2. What are some of the strong concerns of PGPOA members?
Concern of members revolves around the City's attempts to implement rent control solely on single family homes and buildings containing four or fewer rental units. Other issues of concern include the City's continuing attempts to implement local zoning, impose additional trash collection fees on rental properties and ever rising annual inspection fees. Issues change as the City attempts to impose additional restrictions on the ability of property owners to rent their properties.
3. Why do we need PGPOA?
It is commonly understood that there is strength in numbers. By joining together and pooling resources, PGPOA is better able to effectively represent the interests of its members. Individually, it is much more difficult to oppose City government in its attempts to reduce or eliminate rental housing in College Park.
4. Does the organization hold meetings and can I attend?
Yes! PGPOA schedules 2 meetings per year to keep members informed about current events. Electronic communications are also sent to members.
5. Typically, who might want to rent from PGPOA members?
Anyone interested in renting a single family home or a rental unit located in small apartment building in College Park would likely be in contact with a PGPOA member. This could include undergraduate or graduate students, families, young professionals or retired persons. The field of potential renters is unlimited.
6. What is involved in turning a house into rental property?
Before converting a house or other property to a rental, the owner or agent should have the house inspected to ensure that it is up to current code. In addition, a lead paint inspection needs to be peformed and any necessary corrections or renovations made in accordance with the laws and regulations. If the property is affected by lead paint issues, it needs to be registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Lastly, a rental permit needs to be obtained from the City of College Park, which includes payment of a permit fee and an inspection of the property.
7. Is there still a demand for rental housing now that the City has so many high rises?
Yes! Not everyone who wants to rent is interested in living in a high rise.
8. What is the Homestead Act?
The Homestead Act is a provision in the county's tax code that provides a reduction in the amount of property taxes assessed on owner occupied properties.
9. Does the Homestead Act apply to rental houses?
No. It only applies to owner occupied houses.
10. What other fees apply to rental houses?
Rental houses in College Park are subject to an annual rental permit fee. If lead paint issues are involved, an annual lead registration fee is due to MDE. If separate trash service is not provided, the City assesses an annual trash collection fee over and above the trash collection fee collected as part of the property taxes.
11. How do house rents compare to high rise rents?
This will vary from property to property. However, court documents released as part of the rent control court suit stipulates that on a per student basis, in general the house rents are less than the high rise rents.
12. Why would College Park desire to implement rent control?
The stated reason for the City imposing rent control can be found in the City's housing plan. The stated reason is to reduce the profitability of renting single family homes so that single family homes will not be converted to rental use.
13. Why does College Park pay so much more in legal fees than other similar sized cities?
The College Park city government is simply more litigous than other cities and more aggressive in attempting to impose its will on segments of its citizenry without attempting to establish a realistic dialog to resolve legitimate issues. This has resulted in more litigation than would be considered reasonable or prudent.
14. Is crime or the crime rate an issue to PGPOA members?
Certainly crime and crime rates are an issue to PGPOA members. All PGPOA members involved with property rental issues strive to provide safe and affordable housing to its tenants.
15. Why do students say that they enjoy living in homes close to campus in downtown College Park and what are the advantages?
Students enjoy the convenience associated with living in close proximity to the campus, which is the center of their lives as students of the University of Maryland. Living in a single family home or small apartment building as opposed to a dorm or high rise provides the student with a lifestyle more comparable to his or her home life prior to becoming a boarding student. Living in a vibrant community allows a student to interact with a broader cross section of citizens and better prepares him or her for integration into the community after graduation.
16. Why do students' parents prefer members' rental properties over high rises?
The lower cost associated with renting single family home as opposed to a high rise is an important and attractive factor. In addition, a parent can have more influence in the selection of roommates in a single family home, thus ensuring a more stable domicile for their child.
17. How do typical room rates compare to high rises?
This will vary with individual properties. However, court documents prepared as part of the rent control suit with the City stipulate that in general, on a per student basis, single family home rental rates are less than the high rise rates.
18. Are high rise rents on Route 1 impacted by rent control?
No. Rent control ignores high rise rents. Rent control only impacts single family rental properties and small apartments up to and including four separate units.
19. What are the typical amenities of rental homes?
This will vary with individual homes, but typical homes will be equipped with amenities similar to a family home. This will often include a yard and off-street parking in a driveway. The house will typically include a fully equipped kitchen, central heat and air conditioning as well as a washer and dryer. Most houses include internet and cable wiring and a small percentage come furnished.
20. What services do landlords provide to the community?
Since rental properties are not subject to the lower property tax rates available to owner occupied properties, landlords pay additional tax dollars which benefit the community. In addition, to protect the investment, landlords often maintain a higher level of awareness about community activities and the status PGPOA holds regarding its participation and sponsorships withing the community.
21. What are the possible long-term consequences of College Park imposing rent control?
The long-term possibilities are not good for the community in general. First of all, since the old rent control ordinance did not affect all rental properties, the unaffected properties (the high rises) continued to raise rents without any control. Further, property values for single family properties in College Park would be adversely impacted. If allowable rents are insufficient to cover the costs associated with renting a house, it will either be sold or fall into foreclosure. Only the federal government seems to be able to operate on a negative budget, and that seems to be coming to an end, too. If too many properties are on the market, prices fall. In addition, if properties cannot be converted to rental because of rent control, the pool of potential buyers is reduced, which impacts the value of properties and the community.
22. What is "Fair Market Value?"
Fair market value is the price that a willing buyer offers to a willing seller for a specific property in a specific location.
23. What is the difference between price control and rent control?
Price control is in effect when the government attempts to impose a specific price or cost for a specific commodity or item. Rent control is in effect when government imposes a limit or ceiling on what rent a property owner or agent can charge to a tenant for leasing a specific property.