Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3502.08. Increases above base rent.

(a)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the rent for any rental unit shall not be increased above the base rent unless:

(A) The rental unit and the common elements are in substantial compliance with the housing regulations, if noncompliance is not the result of tenant neglect or misconduct. Evidence of substantial noncompliance shall be limited to housing regulations violation notices issued by the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and other offers of proof the Rental Housing Commission shall consider acceptable through its rulemaking procedures;

(B) The housing accommodation is registered in accordance with § 42-3502.05;

(C) The housing provider of the housing accommodation is properly licensed under a statute or regulations if the statute or regulations require licensing;

(D) The manager of the accommodation, when other than the housing provider, is properly registered under the housing regulations if the regulations require registration;

(E) Notice of the increase complies with § 42-3509.04;

(F) The housing provider has provided a tenant with written notice of the maximum standard rent increase that applies to an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability and the means by which a tenant may establish elderly or disability status as set forth in § 42-3502.24(d), as provided by the Rent Administrator pursuant to § 42-3502.24(f), and has not required a tenant to provide more proof of age or disability than the minimum information necessary to establish that status;

(G) The housing provider, if a nonresident of the District, has appointed and maintained a registered agent pursuant to section 203 of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations; and

(H) None of the circumstances set forth in § 42-3509.04(c) applies.

(2) Where the Rent Administrator finds there have been excessive and prolonged violations of the housing regulations affecting the health, safety, and security of the tenants or the habitability of the housing accommodation in which the tenants reside and that the housing provider has failed to correct the violations, the Rent Administrator may roll back the rents for the affected rental units to an amount which shall not be less than the September 1, 1983, base rent for the rental units until the violations have been abated.

(b) A housing accommodation and each of the rental units in the housing accommodation shall be considered to be in substantial compliance with the housing regulations if:

(1) For purposes of the adjustments made in the rent charged in §§ 42-3502.06 and 42-3502.07 [repealed], all substantial violations cited at the time of the last inspection of the housing accommodation by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs before the effective date of the increase were abated within a 45-day period following the issuance of the citations or that time granted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has certified the abatement, or the housing provider or the tenant has certified the abatement and has presented evidence to substantiate the certification. No certification of abatement shall establish compliance with the housing regulations unless the tenants have been given a 10-day notice and an opportunity to contest the certification; and

(2) For purposes of the filing of petitions for adjustments in the rent charged as prescribed in § 42-3502.16, the housing accommodation and each of the rental units in the housing accommodation shall have been inspected at the request of each housing provider by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs within the 30 days immediately preceding the filing of a petition for adjustment.

(c) A tenant of a housing accommodation who, after receipt of not less than 5 days written notice that the housing provider desires an inspection of the tenant’s rental unit for the purpose of determining whether the housing accommodation is in substantial compliance with the housing regulations, refuses without good cause to admit an employee of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for the purpose of inspecting the tenant’s rental unit, or who refuses without good cause to admit the housing provider or the housing provider’s employee or contractor for the purpose of abating any violation of the housing regulations cited by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, will be considered to have waived the right to challenge the validity of the proposed adjustment for reasons that the rental unit occupied by the tenant is not in substantial compliance with the housing regulations.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or abrogate a tenant’s right to initiate any lawful action to correct any violation in the tenant’s rental unit or in the housing accommodation in which that rental unit is located.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no rent shall be adjusted under this chapter for any rental unit with respect to which there is a valid written lease or rental agreement establishing the rent for the rental unit for the term of the written lease or rental agreement.

(f)(1) Any notice of an adjustment under § 42-3502.06 shall contain a statement of the current rent charged, the increased rent charged, and the utilities covered by the rent charged that justify the adjustment or other justification for the rent charged increase.

(2) The notice shall also include a summary of tenant rights under this chapter and a list of sources of technical assistance as published in the District of Columbia Register by the Mayor.

(g) The amount of rent charged for any rental unit subject to this subchapter shall not be increased until a full 12 months have elapsed since any prior increase; provided, that:

(1) An increase in the amount of rent charged shall not exceed the amount of any single adjustment pursuant to any one section of this subchapter;

(2) If the rental unit becomes vacant within 12 months of an increase in the amount of rent charged, other than a vacancy increase pursuant to § 42-3502.13, the housing provider may increase the amount of rent charged pursuant to § 42-3502.13; and

(3) If the amount of rent charged is increased pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the amount of rent charged shall not be increased until a full 12 months have elapsed after the increase in the amount of rent charged, even if another vacancy occurs.

(h) Unless the adjustment in the amount of rent charged is implemented pursuant to § 42-3502.10, § 42-3502.11, § 42-3502.12, or § 42-3502.14, an adjustment in the amount of rent charged:

(1) If the unit is vacant, shall not exceed the amount permitted under § 42-3502.13(a); or

(2) If the unit is occupied:

(A) Shall not exceed the current allowable amount of rent charged for the unit, plus the adjustment of general applicability plus 2%, taken as a percentage of the current allowable amount of rent charged; provided, that the total adjustment shall not exceed 10%;

(B) Shall be pursuant to § 42-3502.24, if occupied by an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability; and

(C) Shall not exceed the lesser of 5% or the adjustment of general applicability if the unit is leased or co-leased by a home and community-based services waiver provider.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 208, 32 DCR 3089; Mar. 16, 1993, D.C. Law 9-191, § 2, 39 DCR 9005; Aug. 5, 2006, D.C. Law 16-145, § 2(a), (e), 53 DCR 4889; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 5032(c), 63 DCR 10775; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-239, § 3(d), 64 DCR 1588; Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-248, § 2(c), 66 DCR 973; June 8, 2020, D.C. Act 23-328, § 405(b)(2), 67 DCR 7598.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2518.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3502.05, § 42-3502.06, and § 42-3502.09.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-145 substituted “rent charged” for “rent ceiling”; and rewrote subsecs. (g) and (h).

Expiration of Law

See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 42-3502.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Elderly Tenant and Tenant with a Disability Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-4, Feb. 9, 2017, 64 DCR 1680).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a), (e) of Rent Control Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-470, July 31, 2006, 53 DCR 6772).

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 22-248 provided that within 180 days after the effective date of D.C. Law 22-248, the Rental Housing Commission, pursuant to Title I of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C. Official Code § 2-501 et seq.), shall issue rules to implement the provisions of D.C. Law 22-248, including revisions necessary to update relevant housing provider reporting forms according to the requirements of D.C. Law 22-248.