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Fast Forward

Maryland Considers ‘Jared Kushner Act’ To Ban Arresting Tenants For Unpaid Rent

A bill recently introduced in the Maryland state legislature would ban judges from issuing arrest warrants for tenants being sued for less than $5,000 in unpaid rent — a proposal that its author is calling the “Jared Kushner Act.”

The Kushner Companies, the real estate firm which presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner used to run and still holds a financial stake in, is the state of Maryland’s most aggressive landlord when it comes to requesting arrest warrants for tenants it is suing for unpaid rent, the Baltimore Sun reported last year.

State delegate Bilal Ali has proposed legislation that would end the practice, which has led to the jailing of 20 Kushner tenants since 2013.

“Government has always developed policies to financially protect wealthy institutions such as the Bank Bailout of 2008,” Ali told the Sun. “On the flip side, regressive policies that hurt and even incarcerate the poor have historically been the norm. This bill prohibits policies that were developed to hurt poor communities and jail poor residents.”

A spokeswoman for the Kushner Companies, Christine Taylor, said that the practice was a last resort for allegedly non-paying tenants who have missed at least two court appearances.

“It is clear that this proposed bill with its proposed name is politically motivated,” she added. “For a couple of local politicians to sponsor a bill called the Jared Kushner Act when neither Kushner Companies nor Jared Kushner, when he worked at Kushner Companies, had anything to do with these issues is petty.”

Maryland’s attorney general confirmed last year that it was investigating the Kushner Companies, which has sued hundreds of current and former tenants in local courts.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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