(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, upon nonpayment of a delinquent account by the owner, agent, lessor, or manager of a rental property that is billed directly by the Authority for water and sewer services, the Authority or a tenant who resides in the affected rental property may petition the court for the appointment of a receiver for the rental payments in the same manner as for appointment of a receiver pursuant to § 42-3303.
(2) The receiver may take any action deemed necessary or appropriate to collect all rental payments from the tenants of the rental property and shall establish an escrow account with these funds. The receiver shall pay the Authority from the escrow account for services provided on or after the date of the receiver’s appointment. If the owner, agent, lessor, or manager also is indebted to an electric company, electricity supplier, gas company, or natural gas supplier for utility services, the receiver may order that rents collected be equitably apportioned between the Authority and the electric company, electricity supplier, gas company, or natural gas supplier. In addition, the receiver may use the rental payments collected to reduce delinquent water and sewer charges owed to the Authority. Upon court order, the receiver shall become trustee of any escrow accounts or other funds established by the tenants or otherwise into which rents or payments for use and occupancy have been made.
(3) The owner, agent, lessor or manager shall be liable for reasonable fees and costs determined by the court to be due the receiver, which may be recovered from the rent payments under control of the receiver, provided that no fees or costs shall be turned over until payment of current District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority service fees have been made.
(4) The receiver may make reasonable payments to the Authority to reduce delinquent water and sewer charges until all delinquent service fees have been paid, and the receiver shall operate and maintain the structure to the best extent possible with the rents remaining after the payment. The receiver shall have the authority to recommend to the court a payment plan, which shall be binding if ordered by the court, to pay off any remaining delinquencies in service fees. Any monies remaining after the payments pursuant to this subsection shall be turned over to the owner, agent, lessor, or manager unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(b) Any receivership established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be terminated by the court upon a finding that the arrearage which was the subject of the original petition has been satisfied or that the rental property has been sold and the new owner has made satisfactory arrangements to pay the arrearages and has assumed liability for prospective District of Columbia Water and Sewer service fees.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prevent the Mayor, Authority, or a tenant from pursuing any other appropriate action or remedy at law or equity against the owner, agent, lessor, or manager of the rental property.
(d) Any owner, agent, lessor, or manager who collects or attempts to collect a rental payment from a tenant of the rental property subject to an order appointing a receiver pursuant to this section shall be found to be in contempt of court, after due notice and hearing.
(e) Any person who knowingly fails to pay water and sewer charges to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, or to make satisfactory arrangements for payment, for more than 12 months shall be guilty of a misdemeanor upon conviction. The penalty for knowingly failing to pay service fees for more than 12 months shall be a fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment not more than 30 days, or both. The penalty for knowingly failing to pay water and sewer charges, or to make satisfactory arrangements for payment, in an amount of more than $10,000 and for more than 2 years shall be a fine of up to 20% of the amount owed, but not less than $5,000, or imprisonment not more than 6 months, or both.
(May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 101, ch. 218, title XVIII, § 1804; as added June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(g), 37 DCR 2620; Nov. 25, 1993, D.C. Law 10-65, § 501(c), 40 DCR 7351; May 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-255, § 36, 41 DCR 5193; May 9, 2000, D.C. Law 13-107, § 204, 47 DCR 1091; Oct. 21, 2000, D.C. Law 13-183, § 3(b), 47 DCR 7062; Mar. 16, 2005, D.C. Law 15-227, § 19, 51 DCR 10549.)
1981 Ed., § 43-1654.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 13-107 in subsec. (a)(1) substituted “electric company, electricity supplier or gas company” for “electric or gas company” where appearing.
D.C. Law 13-183 added “, Authority,” following “Mayor” in subsec. (c) and rewrote subsecs. (a), (b) and (e).
D.C. Law 15-227, in par. (2) of subsec. (a), substituted “supplier, gas company, or natural gas supplier” for “supplier or gas company”.
For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 9 of Prevention of Unauthorized Switching of Customer Natural Gas Accounts Temporary Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-13, July 10, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 6589).