Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–1502. Service of summons.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on October 22, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(a) The summons provided for by § 16-1501 shall be served 30 days, exclusive of Sundays, legal holidays, and days occurring during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, before the day fixed for the initial hearing of the action; except, that a summons may be served during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, and for 60 days thereafter, if the summons relates to a complaint that is filed pursuant to the exceptions listed in § 16-1501(c)(1). If the defendant has left the District of Columbia, or cannot be found, the summons may be served by delivering a copy thereof to the tenant, or by leaving a copy with some person above the age of sixteen years residing on or in possession of the premises sought to be recovered, and if no one is in actual possession of the premises, or residing thereon, by posting a copy of the summons on the premises where it may be conveniently read. If the summons is posted on the premises, a copy of the summons shall be mailed first class U.S. mail, postage prepaid, to the premises sought to be recovered, in the name of the person known to be in possession of the premises, or if unknown, in the name of the person occupying the premises, within 3 calendar days of the date of posting.

(b) If a summons is served by posting a copy on the premises, a photograph of the posted summons must be submitted to the court. The photograph must have a readable timestamp that indicates the date and time of when the summons was posted.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 581, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-90, § 2(b), 31 DCR 2537; June 24, 2021, D.C. Law 24-9, § 404(a)(2), 68 DCR 004824; July 24, 2021, D.C. Act 24-125, § 5(a)(2), 68 DCR 007342.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1502.

1973 Ed., § 16-1502.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-5103.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 5(a)(2) of Public Emergency Extension and Eviction and Utility Moratorium Phasing Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-125, July 24, 2021, 68 DCR 007342).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-96, June 7, 2021, 68 DCR 006025).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Eviction Moratorium Public Safety Exception Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-67, May 3, 2021, 68 DCR 004907).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-30, Mar. 17, 2021, 68 DCR 003101).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-405, Aug. 19, 2020, 67 DCR 10235).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-328, June 8, 2020, 67 DCR 7598).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-326, May 27, 2020, 67 DCR 7045).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 308(a) of COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-247, Mar. 17, 2020, 67 DCR 3093).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9, June 24, 2021, 68 DCR 004824).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 404(a)(2) of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130, Oct. 9, 2020, 67 DCR 8622).