Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA)

Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA)

The Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA) is a quasi-judicial body created by the Takoma Park City Council and empowered to adjudicate complaints for violations of Chapter 6.16 City Code & Charter link icon (Landlord-Tenant Relations) and Chapter 6.20 City Code & Charter link icon (Rent Stabilization) of the Takoma Park Code. COLTA rules on petitions for rent increases above the rent stabilization allowance and on appeals from the City Manager’s decision to deny, suspend or revoke a rental housing or commercial license.

Written COLTA complaints are filed with the city’s Landlord-Tenant Division and heard by the Commission only after tenants or landlords cannot reach an accord following the Landlord-Tenant Division’s efforts to resolve their dispute. After hearing a case, a panel of three COLTA Commissioners determine if a violation has occurred. Approximately 30 days after the hearing, a written decision is mailed to the parties. The Commission’s written decision (Opinion & Order) may be appealed to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Failure to comply with a Commission Opinion and Order may result in enforcement action by the City.

COLTA has issued Opinions and Orders addressing a range of landlord-tenant issues including security deposit refunds, illegal rent increases, defective tenancy, and notices to vacate.

COLTA Case Summaries

COLTA Case Summaries - Defective Tenancy

Simms v. Murtie

Date

Monday, December 20, 2010

Case

Issue

Landlord filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 11/8/10 against the Tenant and sought repossession of the rental unit.

COLTA Decision

Following the 12/7/10 Emergency Hearing, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 12/20/10 ruling that the Tenant had caused a Defective Tenancy by allowing unauthorized people to live in the rental unit without the Landlord's permission.

Post Decision Action(s)

None.

Saunders v. Tenacity NH Ave. LLC et al

Date

Friday, November 13, 2009

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 5/18/09 against Landlord and the building management company.

COLTA Decision

Following the 10/27/09 hearing(rescheduled from 9/22/09) COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 11/13 /09 and ruled that the Tenant had failed to prove that a Defective Tenancy existed.

Post Decision Action(s)

None.

Birchwood Tenant Association v. Patner Properties

Date

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Issue

Tenant Association, through their attorney, filed a Defective Tenancy complaint against the Landlord on 4/22/09.

COLTA Decision

Following the 7/14/09 hearing, COLTA issues its Opinion and Order on 8/27/09 and ruled that the Tenant Association failed to prove a Defective Tenancy existed in four of five of their complaints.

Post Decision Action(s)

Landlord complied on 9/16/09 with that part of the COLTA Order directing payment to selected Tenants.

Saunders v. Tenacity NH Ave. LLC, et al

Date

Monday, July 6, 2009

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 2/25/09 against the landlord and the building management company.

COLTA Decision

Following the 5/12/09 hearing, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 7/6/09 that awarded the Tenant monetary damages plus a reduction in rent.

Post Decision Action(s)

Landlord filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Opinion and Order on 7/14/09 which was denied by the Commission on 7/23/09. Landlord complied with the order on 9/2/09.

Hampshire Towers Tenant Association v. Tenacity NH Ave. LLC et al

Date

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Issue

Tenant Association, through their attorney, filed a Defective Tenancy/Notice to Vacate complaint against Landlord and the building management company on 5/12/09.

COLTA Decision

Following the 6/2/09 emergency hearing COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 6/18/09 and ruled that the Landlord was responsible for the Defective Tenancy while upholding the Landlord’s right to issue the Notices to Vacate.

Post Decision Action(s)

Landlord’s attorney filed on 6/25/09 a Motion for Reconsideration regarding the Defective Tenancy portion of the 6/18/09 Opinion and Order. The Commission granted the motion on 7/9/09 and The Landlord complied with the amended Order on 8/19/09 which directed payments/rent reductions to selected Tenants.

Gordon v. Simms

Date

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Case

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy/Illegal Rent Increase complaint on 9/10/08 against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the 1/13/09 hearing COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 2/25/09 (the illegal rent increase issue was settled prior to the hearing) which held that the Landlord was not liable for a defective tenancy and that actions by the Tenant had hindered the Landlord’s efforts to address conditions inside the rental unit.

Post Decision Action(s)

None.

Mickey v. Ernst

Date

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Case

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 7/22/08 against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the 9/23/08 hearing COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 11/19/08 which held that the Landlord was not liable for a defective tenancy and denied the Tenant’s rent rebate and rent reduction requests.

Post Decision Action(s)

None.

Muñoz v. 8314 Roanoke Avenue, LLC

Date

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 2/15/08 against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the hearing on 6/24/08, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 7/15/08, and ruled that the Landlord caused a defective tenancy and awarded monetary damages to the Tenant. The Tenant was authorized to withhold future rent payments in an amount equal to the Commission award.

Post Decision Action(s)

None.

Bure v. Marydale Realty Management

Date

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy/Rent Rebate complaint on 1/25/08 against the Landlord’s agent.

COLTA Decision

Following the 6/3/08 hearing, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 7/8/08 which held that (1) selected defective tenancy claims were time barred since they were not filed within one year of their occurrence; (2) the Landlord was held liable for causing a defective tenancy for failing to maintain the air conditioning in working order; (3) the Landlord and the Landlord’s agent were held liable for rent rebates and rent refunds in the amount of $3,893.69.

Post Decision Action(s)

Compliance with the COLTA Order occurred on 8/13/08.

Lynott v. 8312 Flower Ave. Apartments, LLC/Eric Denchfield

Date

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 7/25/07 (07-45T) followed by the filing on 1/29/08 of a second complaint (08-3T) for an Illegal Utility Transfer by the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the 4/22/08 consolidated hearing, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 5/21/08 which held that the Landlord was liable for causing several defective tenancies for which the Commission ordered that rent rebates and refunds be paid to the Tenant. The Commission additionally held that the Landlord breached the Tenant’s lease by improperly transferring utility payment responsibility to the Tenant. The Landlord was ordered to reimburse the Tenant for the utility bill the Tenant had paid.

Post Decision Action(s)

Tenant was referred to District Court for follow-up legal action.

Lynott v. Reden Management/Eric Denchfield

Date

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 7/25/07against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the 4/22/08 consolidated hearing at which time this complaint was heard together with a second complaint (08-3T) involving an Illegal Utility Transfer by the Landlord, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 5/21/08. The Order held the Landlord liable for causing several defective tenancies and held that the Landlord had additionally breached the Tenant’s lease by improperly transferring responsibility for utility payments to her.

Post Decision Action(s)

Tenant referred to District Court for follow-up legal action.

Meadows v. Forsythe

Date

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Issue

Tenant filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 3/8/07 against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the cancellation of several scheduled hearings, the complaint was dismissed on 4/23/08 following the former Tenant’s failure to appear at the COLTA Hearing.

Post Decision Action(s)

Tenant’s appeal dismissed by the Circuit Court.

Bradford/Corado v. Parkes

Date

Monday, October 15, 2007

Issue

Tenants filed a Defective Tenancy complaint on 4/17/07 against the Landlord.

COLTA Decision

Following the 8/21/07 hearing, COLTA issued its Opinion and Order on 10/15/07 denying the Tenant’s complaint.

Post Decision Action(s)

Tenants filed an appeal to the Circuit Court which they subsequently withdrew.

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