Bill Would Require Apartment Buildings to Give Information About Sprinklers, Safety Plans

Feb. 18, 2023 fire at Arrive apartments in Silver Spring. Photo via Pete Piringer, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

A bill introduced before the county council aims to increase safety-related communication between landlords and renters.

The legislation would require a residential lease to specify if the building has an automatic sprinkler system, and provide information about emergency safety plans and renters insurance coverage. Council Vice President Kate Stewart introduced the bill Tuesday. 

“Unfortunately, there were two incidents and events that took place that inspired us looking closely at our section of the code on this,” Stewart said during a council meeting. She noted the Arrive high-rise apartments fire in Silver Spring, which resulted in the death of 25-year-old Melanie Díaz, and the power outage at The Grand in North Bethesda. Both events happened last year.

There has been “an increase with apartment complexes that faced emergency situations” in the county, like building fires, power outages, evacuations, and condemnations, according to council documents.

The legislation would also require 24-hour availability of a building representative during certain emergencies, and require an emergency safety plan for approval by the county for multifamily complexes.

Co-sponsors are Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz, Kristin Mink and Laurie-Anne Sayles. Council President Andrew Friedson and Councilmember Evan Glass asked to be added as co-sponsors Tuesday. A public hearing will be scheduled later.

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