Help for Renters


Much has been written in the past few weeks about the deficiencies and inequity with the rent court process in Baltimore City, (“Repairing a Broken System,” Dec. 18). The Public Justice Center report, and the media coverage that followed, reveal many important obstacles in the current rent court system. Unfortunately, these reports neglected to mention a very critical service, uniquely available in Maryland, to both tenants and landlords. Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., (BNI), where I serve as executive director, provides an impartial hotline and counseling service to over 5,000 City tenants and landlords annually and thousands more statewide.

This program provides guidance, information and referrals, free of charge, to those facing eviction and other critical issues related to the landlord/tenant relationship.Our guidance frequently resolves and prevents disputes that might otherwise result in evictions. Hundreds of inquiries are received from residents who were advised by the court to call us. Others come to us on the recommendation of elected officials and government agencies.

Our three counselors field hundreds of inquiries daily. Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, our capacity is limited, and many who call must wait on hold while others obtain information from our website and recorded messages.

The Public Justice Center study found that, in contrast to the counseling and hotline response to Maryland’s foreclosure crisis, there has been a comparative lack of funding available to meet the needs of tenants. By way of example of this disparity, over 40 percent of Baltimore residents are renters, yet funding and services for rental assistance and eviction prevention is a fraction of the funding provided to promote and incentivize homeownership and foreclosure prevention. As noted in the JT, Jews United For Justice plans to seek a legislative response to assist tenants and create a more equitable rent court process.

BNI has been working for housing justice since 1959. We support these efforts and expect that BNI will be included in opportunities to reduce evictions and provide needed services to promote rental housing stability in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.

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  1. Hi my name is Talya Byrne,I have A two-year-old son 16 month year old daughter and a newborn who’s been born on October 27th. My landlord is about to Evict me and my children, and I desperately need help with keeping my house.
    The only reason why I am in this situation is because my husband is in jail for things he did not do.
    My husband was working for bird scooters as a freelance contractor,collecting and charging scooters for money.
    On the night of December 4 my husband kissed me and his kids good night and went no less than a mile from our home to collect 80$ worth of scooters.two unmarked older cars tried to trap him in the parking lot but he drove off and tried to get to the police station that was a block away.the cars continuously and aggressively followed him and hit him multiple times on all sides.finally he saw an official cop car and waved at the cop and pulled into an empty bank parking lot the officer turned around and followed.but the unmarked cars followed too.and tried to disable my husband’s car my husband was hit several times again from all directions.
    He got out of the pinch and parked alongside the curb and was surrounded by at least 6 official cop cars all had guns pointing at him.he stuck his hands out and was torn from his car by five of the cops.he had his seatbelt on.
    Finally one of the cops realized that he had his seatbelt on and went around to the passenger side and released the seatbelt.they slammed him to the ground despite him not resisting and yelling “I have two babies!please dont kill me!oh my god please dont kill me!” The officers continued to press his face into the street and hit him across his back even though he was handcuffed not armed ad not resisting whatsoever.
    As it turned out the unmarked cars were undercover detectives in the narcotics unit and were in the middle of a stake out.
    They found no drugs,no weapons,nothing.
    My husband had 8dollers on him.
    As a result he was incarcerated for 30days before his second bail judge said to the state”this seems to be a case of mistaken identity” and let him go on his own recognizance.
    Now as a result of the whole case my husband was left with his left side of his face being numb and was In a leg cast for two month due to a broken kneecap.and wasnt able to work for a total of four months. And as a result of that we fell back on being able to pay our rent.
    Now my husband is being incarcerated for 18 months but is appealing the case,and will be put on work release.
    We really need help with keeping our home.i expect the landlord to be giving us the eviction notice any day now.
    I have no idea what to do or who to go to.
    Please help us.


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