Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3505.09. Sealing of eviction court records.

*NOTE: This section was created by temporary legislation that will expire on October 27, 2021.*

(a) The Superior Court shall seal all court records relating to an eviction proceeding if:

(1) The eviction proceeding does not result in a judgment for possession in favor of the housing provider, 30 days after the final resolution of the eviction proceeding; or

(2) The eviction proceeding results in a judgement for possession in favor of the housing provider, 3 years after the final resolution of the eviction proceeding; except, that, if the tenant was the defendant in any additional eviction proceedings that resulted in judgment for possession in favor of the housing provider during the 3-year period after the final resolution of the first eviction proceeding, the court shall seal the court records of all such proceedings at the completion of a 3-year period in which the tenant is not a defendant in another eviction proceeding that resulted in judgment for possession in favor of the housing provider.

(b) For court records relating to an eviction proceeding filed before March 11, 2020, the requirement of subsection (a) of this section shall apply as of January 1, 2021.

(c)(1) The Superior Court may seal court records relating to an eviction proceeding at any time, upon motion by a tenant, if:

(A) The tenant demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(i) The housing provider brought the eviction proceeding because the tenant failed to pay an amount of $600 or less;

(ii) The tenant was evicted from a unit under a federal or District site-based housing assistance program or a federal or District tenant-based housing assistance program;

(iii) The housing provider's initiation of eviction proceedings against the tenant was in violation of:

(I) Section 42-3505.02; or

(II) Section 2-1402.61;

(iv) The housing provider failed to timely abate a violation of 14 DCMR § 100 et seq. or 12G DCMR § 100 et seq. in relation to the defendant tenant's rental unit;

(v) The housing provider initiated the eviction proceedings because of an incident that would constitute a defense to an action for possession under § 42-3505.01(c-1) or federal law pertaining to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or

(vi) The parties entered into a settlement agreement that did not result in the housing provider recovering possession of the rental unit; or

(B) The Superior Court determines that there are other grounds justifying such relief.

(2) An order dismissing, granting, or denying a motion filed under this subsection shall be a final order for purposes of appeal.

(3)(A) A copy of an order issued under this subsection shall be provided to the tenant or his or her counsel.

(B) A tenant may obtain a copy of an order issued under this subsection at any time from the Clerk of the Superior Court, upon proper identification, without a showing of need.

(d) Records sealed under this section shall be opened only:

(1) Upon written request of the tenant; or

(2) On order of the Superior Court upon a showing of compelling need.

(e) The Superior Court shall not order the redaction of the tenant's name from any published opinion of the trial or appellate courts that refer to a record sealed under this section.


(Mar. 16, 2021, D.C. Law 23-255, § 2(c), 67 DCR 13959.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 2(c) of Fairness in Renting Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-3, Jan. 25, 2021, 68 DCR 001529).

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 2(c) of Fairness in Renting Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-497, Nov. 10, 2020, 67 DCR 13949).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) creation of this section, see § 2(c) of Fairness in Renting Temporary Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Law 23-255, Mar. 16, 2021, 67 DCR 13959).