Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3505.10. Tenant screening.

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

(a) Before requesting any information from a prospective tenant as a part of tenant screening, a housing provider shall first notify the prospective tenant in writing, or by posting in a manner accessible to prospective tenants:

(1) The types of information that will be accessed to conduct a tenant screening;

(2) The criteria that may result in denial of the application; and

(3) If a credit or consumer report is used, the name and contact information of the credit or consumer reporting agency and a statement of the prospective tenant's rights to obtain a free copy of the credit or consumer report in the event of a denial or other adverse action.

(b) For the purposes of tenant screening, a housing provider shall not make an inquiry about, require the prospective tenant to disclose or reveal, or base an adverse action on:

(1) Whether a previous action to recover possession from the prospective tenant occurred if the action:

(A) Did not result in a judgment for possession in favor of the housing provider; or

(B) Was filed 3 or more years ago.

(2) Any allegation of a breach of lease by the prospective tenant if the alleged breach:

(A) Stemmed from an incident that the prospective tenant demonstrates 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

(B) Took place 3 or more years ago.

(c) A housing provider shall not base an adverse action solely on a prospective tenant's credit score, although information within a credit or consumer report directly relevant to fitness as a tenant can be relied upon by a housing provider.

(d) If a housing provider takes an adverse action, he or she shall provide a written notice of the adverse action to the prospective tenant that shall include:

(1) The specific grounds for the adverse action;

(2) A copy or summary of any information obtained from a third-party that formed a basis for the adverse action; and

(3) A statement informing the prospective tenant of his or her right to dispute the accuracy of any information upon which the housing provider relied in making his or her determination.

(e)(1) After receipt of a notice of an adverse action, a prospective tenant may provide to the housing provider any evidence that information relied upon by the housing provider is:

(A) Inaccurate or incorrectly attributed to the prospective tenant; or

(B) Based upon prohibited criteria under subsection (b) or subsection (c) of this section.

(2) The housing provider shall provide a written response, which may be by mail, electronic mail, or in person, to the prospective tenant with respect to any information provided under this subsection within 30 business days after receipt of the information from the prospective tenant.

(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the housing provider from leasing a housing rental unit to other prospective tenants.

(f) Any housing provider who knowingly violates any provision of this section, or any rules issued to implement this section, shall be subject to a civil penalty for each violation not to exceed $1,000.

(g) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Adverse action" means:

(A) Denial of a prospective tenant's rental application; or

(B) Approval of a prospective tenant's rental application, subject to terms or conditions different and less-favorable to the prospective tenant than those included in any written notice, statement, or advertisement for the rental unit, including written communication sent directly from the housing provider to a prospective tenant.

(2) "Tenant screening" means any process used by a housing provider to evaluate the fitness of a prospective tenant.

(h) This section shall apply as of January 1, 2021.


(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).