Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 23. Water and Sewer Services Amnesty Program, Receivership Provision, and Administrative Review.


§ 34–2301. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Owner” means any individual, corporation, association, or partnership listed as the legal title holder of record.

(2) “Rental property” means any real property consisting of 1 or more units that is leased or subleased to a person with the consent of the owner or the owner’s agent, in consideration for rental payment.

(3) “Tenant” means any person who holds or possesses a habitation in subordination to the title of the owner of the premises in which the habitation is located, with the consent of the owner.


(May 18, 1954, ch. 218, title XVIII, § 1801; as added June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(g), 37 DCR 2620.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1651.


§ 34–2302. Amnesty program.

(a) There is established an amnesty program for any person liable for delinquent water and sanitary sewer services. The amnesty program shall permit the person to pay the full amount of outstanding charges for water and sanitary sewer services, without the imposition of any interest or fine otherwise provided by law.

(b) The amnesty program shall be available during the period from October 1, 1990, through December 31, 1990.

(c) A person may participate in the amnesty program by filing an application for amnesty with the Mayor that includes a copy of the person’s most recent water and sanitary sewer service bill and a cashier’s check, certified check, or money order in the amount of the bill as computed under subsection (a) of this section. The application for amnesty and the payment shall be filed in person or by mail postmarked no later than midnight on December 31, 1990. Cash payments may not be mailed for purposes of this section.

(d) Any person who files an application for amnesty under this section shall be precluded from filing a request for an administrative hearing pursuant to § 34-2305.

(e) The Mayor shall publicize, for 3 consecutive weeks, the terms and conditions of the amnesty program in at least 2 daily and 2 weekly newspapers published and circulated generally in the District of Columbia.

(f) Revenue received from the amnesty program shall be credited to the General Fund of the District of Columbia as established by § 47-131.


(May 18, 1954, ch. 218, title XVIII, § 1802; as added June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(g), 37 DCR 2620.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1652.


§ 34–2303. Opportunity for a tenant to receive service in own name; payment made by tenant.

(a) If an owner of rental property or his or her agent is billed directly by the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (“Authority”) for water and sanitary sewer services provided to the rental property, and the owner or his or her agent fails to pay a delinquent account for the services, each tenant who resides in the affected property may receive water and sanitary sewer services in his or her own name without liability for the charges accrued while the services were billed directly to the owner of the rental property. A tenant shall receive water and sanitary sewer services in his or her own name only if it is deemed practicable by the Mayor in accordance with rules issued pursuant to § 34-2306.

(b) Any payment made by a tenant of rental property pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed in lieu of an equal amount of rent and shall be deducted from any rent due and owing or to become due and owing to the owner, agent, lessor, or manager of the rental property.

(c) Nothing in this section shall prevent the Mayor from pursuing any other appropriate action or remedy at law or equity against an owner, agent, lessor, manager, or tenant of a rental property.


(May 18, 1954, ch. 218, title XVIII, § 1803; as added June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(g), 37 DCR 2620; Oct. 21, 2000, D.C. Law 13-183, § 3(a), 47 DCR 7062.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1653.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-183 substituted in subsec. (a) “the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (’Authority’)” for “Department of Public Works (’Department’)”.


§ 34–2304. Appointment of receiver.

(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.)

Prior Codifications

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”.

Temporary Legislation

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).


§ 34–2305. Administrative review.

Any owner or occupant of a property that receives water and sewer services may contest a water or sanitary sewer service bill rendered for water and sewer services in accordance with §§ 2-509 and 2-510, as set forth in rules issued by the Mayor pursuant to § 34-2306. The Mayor or the Authority shall require the owner or occupant to post a surety bond or deposit upon the filing of a request for an administrative hearing, except that the requirement to post a surety bond or deposit shall not apply to an owner who occupies a single family house. The amount of the surety bond or deposit shall be determined by the Mayor or the Authority and shall not be less than one-half of the total amount of charges, penalties, and interest owed. The surety bond or deposit shall be placed into an escrow account and accrue interest at a rate to be determined by the Mayor or the Authority.


(May 18, 1954, ch. 218, title XVIII, § 1805; as added June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(g), 37 DCR 2620; Oct. 21, 2000, D.C. Law 13-183, § 3(c), 47 DCR 7062.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1655.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-2107, § 34-2202.16, and § 34-2302.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-183 added “or the Authority” following “Mayor” in two instances in the second sentence.


§ 34–2306. Rules.

(a) Within 60 days of June 13, 1990, the Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this act [D.C. Law 8-136] including rules regarding deposits, meters, liens, the sale and redemption of real property, the amnesty program, receivership, termination of water and sewer services, and administrative review.

(b) The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved.

(c) If after 90 days from June 13, 1990, the Mayor has failed to issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this act [D.C. Law 8-136] as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the Council may adopt any legislation necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act. [D.C. Law 8-136]


(June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 8, 37 DCR 2620.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1656.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-2303 and § 34-2305.

References in Text

“This act,” referred to in (a) and in two places in (c), is D.C. Law 8-136.