(a) During a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, and for one year thereafter ("covered time period"), a provider shall develop a rent-payment-plan program ("Program") for eligible residential and commercial tenants. Under the Program, a provider shall:
(1) Permit an eligible tenant to enter into a payment plan for rent that comes due during the covered time and prior to cessation of the tenancy ("payment plan");
(2) Waive any fee or penalty arising out of entering into a payment plan;
(3) Not report to a credit bureau as delinquent the rent that is subject to the payment plan or report the payment plan as derogatory information; and
(4) Notify all tenants of the availability, terms, and application process for the Program.
(b)(1) A provider shall permit a tenant with a payment plan to pay an amount greater than the monthly amount provided for in the payment plan.
(2) A provider shall not require or request a tenant to provide a lump-sum payment in excess of the amount required under a payment plan.
(3) A provider shall agree in writing to the terms of the payment plan.
(4) A provider may use any security deposit, last month's rent, or other amount held by the provider on behalf of the tenant to satisfy amounts owed under a payment plan; provided, that the tenant agree in writing to such use.
(c) A provider shall establish procedures governing how tenants are to apply for its Program, including requiring a tenant to submit supporting documentation. An application shall be made available online and by telephone.
(d) A provider shall approve each application in which a tenant:
(1) Demonstrates to the provider evidence of a financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the public health emergency, regardless of an existing delinquency or a future inability to make rental payments established prior to the start of the public health emergency; and
(2) Agrees in writing to make payments in accordance with the payment plan.
(e)(1) A provider who receives an application for a payment plan pursuant to this section shall retain the application, whether approved or denied, for at least 3 years.
(2) Upon request, a provider shall make an application for a payment plan available to:
(A) For residential tenants, the Rent Administrator and Office of the Tenant Advocate; and
(B) For commercial tenants, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
(f)(1) A residential tenant whose application for a payment plan is denied may file a written complaint with the Rent Administrator. The Rent Administrator shall forward the complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings for adjudication.
(2) A commercial tenant whose application for a payment plan is denied may file a written complaint with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs shall forward the complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings for adjudication.
(g) For the purposes of this section, the term:
(1) "Eligible tenant" means a tenant of a residential or commercial retail property that:
(A) Has notified the landlord of an inability to pay all or a portion of the rent due as a result of the public health emergency;
(B) Is not currently receiving a rent reduction pursuant to § 42-825.01; provided, that a tenant not currently receiving such a rent reduction otherwise remains eligible under this section; and
(C) Is not a franchise unless the franchise is owned by a District resident and operated in the District.
(2) "Housing provider" means a person who is:
(A) A residential landlord, residential owner, residential lessor, residential sublessor, residential assignee, or the agent of any of the foregoing or any other person receiving or entitled to receive the rents or benefits for the use or occupancy of any residential rental unit within a housing accommodation within the District; and
(B) Has 5 or more residential units currently rented or available for rent.
(3) "Non-housing provider" means a person who is a non-residential landlord, non-residential owner, non-residential lessor, non-residential sublessor, non-residential assignee, a non-residential agent of a landlord, owner, lessor, sublessor, or assignee, or any other person receiving or entitled to receive rents or benefits for the use or occupancy of a commercial unit.
(4) "Provider" means a housing provider or a non-housing provider.