Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter V. Evictions; Retaliatory Action; and Other Matters.


§ 42–3505.01. Evictions.

(a) Except as provided in this section, no tenant shall be evicted from a rental unit, notwithstanding the expiration of the tenant’s lease or rental agreement, so long as the tenant continues to pay the rent to which the housing provider is entitled for the rental unit; provided, that the nonpayment of a late fee shall not be the basis for an eviction. No tenant shall be evicted from a rental unit for any reason other than for nonpayment of rent unless the tenant has been served with a written notice to vacate which meets the requirements of this section. Notices to vacate for all reasons other than for nonpayment of rent shall be served upon both the tenant and the Rent Administrator. All notices to vacate shall contain a statement detailing the reasons for the eviction, and if the housing accommodation is required to be registered by this chapter, a statement that the housing accommodation is registered with the Rent Administrator.

(b) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit where the tenant is violating an obligation of tenancy and fails to correct the violation within 30 days after receiving from the housing provider a notice to correct the violation or vacate.

(c) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit where a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the tenant, or a person occupying the premises with or in addition to the tenant, has performed an illegal act within the rental unit or the housing accommodation. The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 30-day notice to vacate. The tenant may be evicted only if the tenant knew or should have known that an illegal act was taking place.

(c-1)(1) It shall be a defense to an action for possession under subsections (b) or (c) of this section that the tenant is a victim, or is the parent or guardian of a minor victim, of an intrafamily offense or actions relating to an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8), if the Court determines that the intrafamily offense, or actions relating to the intrafamily offense, are the basis for the notice to vacate.

(2) If, as a result of the intrafamily offense or the actions relating to the intrafamily offense that is the basis for the notice to vacate, the tenant has received a temporary or civil protection order ordering the respondent to vacate the home, the court shall not enter a judgment for possession.

(3) If, as a result of the intrafamily offense or the actions relating to the intrafamily offense that is the basis for the notice to vacate, the tenant provides to the court a copy of a police report written within the preceding 60 days or has filed for but has not received a temporary or civil protection order ordering the respondent to vacate the home, the court shall have the discretion not to enter a judgment for possession under this subchapter.

(d) A natural person with a freehold interest in the rental unit may recover possession of a rental unit where the person seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for the person’s immediate and personal use and occupancy as a dwelling. The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 90-day notice to vacate in advance of action to recover possession of the rental unit in instances arising under this subsection. No housing provider shall demand or receive rent for any rental unit which the housing provider has repossessed under this subsection during the 12-month period beginning on the date the housing provider recovered possession of the rental unit. A stockholder of a cooperative housing association with a right of possession in a rental unit may exercise the rights of a natural person with a freehold interest under this subsection.

(e) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit where the housing provider has in good faith contracted in writing to sell the rental unit or the housing accommodation in which the unit is located for the immediate and personal use and occupancy by another person, so long as the housing provider has notified the tenant in writing of the tenant’s right and opportunity to purchase as provided in Chapter 34 of this title. The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 90-day notice to vacate in advance of the housing provider’s action to recover possession of the rental unit. No person shall demand or receive rent for any rental unit which has been repossessed under this subsection during the 12-month period beginning on the date on which the rental unit was originally repossessed by the housing provider.

(f)(1)(A) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit for the immediate purpose of making alterations or renovations to the rental unit which cannot safely or reasonably be accomplished while the rental unit is occupied, so long as:

(i) The plans for the alterations or renovations have been filed with the Rent Administrator and the Chief Tenant Advocate;

(ii) The tenant has had 21 days after receiving notice of the application to submit to the Rent Administrator and to the Chief Tenant Advocate comments on the impact that an approved application would have on the tenant or any household member, and on any statement made in the application;

(iii) An inspector from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has inspected the housing accommodation for the accuracy of material statements in the application and has reported his or her findings to the Rent Administrator and the Chief Tenant Advocate;

(iv) On or before the filing of the application, the housing provider has given the tenant:

(I) Notice of the application;

(II) Notice of all tenant rights;

(III) A list of sources of technical assistance as published in the District of Columbia Register by the Mayor;

(IV) A summary of the plan for the alterations and renovations to be made; and

(V) Notice that the plan in its entirety is on file and available for review at the office of the Rent Administrator, at the office of the Chief Tenant Advocate, and at the rental office of the housing provider; and

(v) The Rent Administrator, in consultation with the Chief Tenant Advocate, has determined in writing:

(I) That the proposed alterations and renovations cannot safely or reasonably be made while the rental unit is occupied;

(II) Whether the alterations and renovations are necessary to bring the rental unit into compliance with the housing code and the tenant shall have the right to reoccupy the rental unit at the same rent; and

(III) That the proposal is in the interest of each affected tenant after considering the physical condition of the rental unit or the housing accommodation and the overall impact of relocation on the tenant.

(B) As part of the application under this subsection, a housing provider shall submit to the Rent Administrator for review and approval, and to the Chief Tenant Advocate, the following plans and documents:

(i) A detailed statement setting forth why the alterations and renovations are necessary and why they cannot safely or reasonably be accomplished while the rental unit is occupied;

(ii) A copy of the notice that the housing provider has circulated informing the tenant of the application under this subsection;

(iii) A draft of the notice to vacate to be issued to the tenant if the application is approved by the Rent Administrator;

(iv) A timetable for all aspects of the plan for alterations and renovations, including:

(I) The relocation of the tenant from the rental unit and back into the rental unit;

(II) The commencement of the work, which shall be within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days, after the tenant has vacated the rental unit;

(III) The completion of the work; and

(IV) The housing provider’s submission to the Rent Administrator and the Chief Tenant Advocate of periodic progress reports, which shall be due at least once every 60 days until the work is complete and the tenant is notified that the rent unit is ready to be reoccupied;

(v) A relocation plan for each tenant that provides:

(I) The amount of the relocation assistance payment for each unit;

(II) A specific plan for relocating each tenant to another unit in the housing accommodation or in a complex or set of buildings of which the housing accommodation is a part, or, if the housing provider states that relocation within the same building or complex is not practicable, the reasons for the statement;

(III) If relocation to a rental unit pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph (II) of this sub-subparagraph is not practicable, a list of units within the housing provider’s portfolio of rental accommodations made available to each dispossessed tenant, or, where the housing provider asserts that relocation within the housing provider’s portfolio of rental accommodations is not practicable, the justification for such assertion;

(IV) If relocation to a rental unit pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph (II) or (III) of this sub-subparagraph is not practicable, a list for each tenant affected by the relocation plan of at least 3 other rental units available to rent in a housing accommodation in the District of Columbia, each of which shall be comparable to the rental unit in which the tenant currently lives; and

(V) A list of tenants with their current addresses and telephone numbers.

(C) The Chief Tenant Advocate, in consultation with the Rent Administrator, shall:

(i) Within 5 days of receipt of the application, issue a notice, which shall include the address and telephone number of the Office of the Chief Tenant Advocate, to each affected tenant stating that the tenant:

(I) Has the right to review or obtain a copy of the application, including all supporting documentation, at the rental office of the housing provider, the Office of the Chief Tenant Advocate, or the office of the Rent Administrator;

(II) Shall have 21 days in which to file with the Rent Administrator and serve on the housing provider comments upon any statement made in the application, and on the impact an approved application would have on the tenant or any household member; and

(III) May consult the Office of the Chief Tenant Advocate with respect to ascertaining the tenant’s legal rights, responding to the application or to any ancillary offer made by the housing provider, or otherwise safeguarding the tenant’s interests;

(ii) At any time prior to or subsequent to the Rent Administrator’s approval of the application, make such inquiries as the Chief Tenant Advocate considers appropriate to determine whether the housing provider has complied with the requirements of this subsection and whether the interests of the tenants are being protected, and shall promptly report any findings to the Rent Administrator; and

(iii) Upon the Rent Administrator’s approval of the application:

(I) Maintain a registry of the affected tenants, including their subsequent interim addresses; and

(II) Issue a written notice, which shall include the address and telephone number of the Office of the Chief Tenant Advocate, to each affected tenant that notifies the tenant of the right to maintain his or her tenancy and the need to keep the Chief Tenant Advocate informed of interim addresses;

(D) The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 120-day notice to vacate prior to the filing of an action to recover possession of the rental unit that shall:

(i) Notify the tenant of the tenant’s rights under this subsection, including the absolute right to reoccupy the rental unit, the right to reoccupy the rental unit at the same rate if the Rent Administrator has determined that the alterations or renovations are necessary to bring the rental unit into substantial compliance with the housing regulations, and the right to relocation assistance under the provisions of subchapter VII of this chapter;

(ii) Include a list of sources of technical assistance as published in the District of Columbia Register by the Mayor; and

(iii) Include a copy of the notice issued by the Chief Tenant Advocate pursuant to paragraph (1)(C)(iii)(II) of this subsection.

(E) Within 5 days of the completion of alterations and renovations, the housing provider shall provide notice, by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant, the Rent Administrator, and the Chief Tenant Advocate that the rental unit is ready to be occupied by the tenant.

(F) Any notice required by this section to be issued to the tenant by the housing provider, the Rent Administrator, or the Chief Tenant Advocate shall be published in the languages as would be required by § 2-1933(a).

(2) Immediately upon completion of the proposed alterations or renovations, the tenant shall have the absolute right to reoccupy the rental unit. A tenant displaced by actions under this subsection shall continue to be a tenant of the rental unit as defined in § 42-3401.03(17), for purposes of rights and remedies under Chapter 34 of this title, until the tenant has waived his or her rights in writing. Until the tenant’s right to reoccupy the rental unit has terminated, the housing provider shall serve on the tenant any notice or other document regarding the rental unit as required by any provision of Chapter 34 of this title, this chapter, or any other law or regulation, except that service shall be made by first-class mail at the address identified as the tenant’s interim address pursuant to paragraph (1)(C)(iii) of this subsection.

(3) Where the renovations or alterations are necessary to bring the rental unit into substantial compliance with the housing regulations, the tenant may rerent at the same rent and under the same obligations that were in effect at the time the tenant was dispossessed, if the renovations or alterations were not made necessary by the negligent or malicious conduct of the tenant.

(4) Tenants displaced by actions under this subsection shall be entitled to receive relocation assistance as set forth in subchapter VII of this chapter, if the tenants meet the eligibility criteria of that subchapter.

(5) Prior to the date that the tenant vacates the unit, the Rent Administrator shall rescind the approval of any application under this subsection upon determining that the housing provider has not complied with this subsection.

(6) If, after the tenant has vacated the unit, the housing provider fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection, the aggrieved tenant or a tenant organization authorized by the tenant may seek enforcement of any right or provision under this subsection by an action in law or equity. If the aggrieved tenant or tenant organization prevails, the aggrieved tenant or tenant organization shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees. In an equitable action, bond requirements shall be waived to the extent permissible under law or court rule.

(g)(1) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit for the purpose of immediately demolishing the housing accommodation in which the rental unit is located and replacing it with new construction, if a copy of the demolition permit has been filed with the Rent Administrator, and, if the requirements of subchapter VII of this chapter have been met. The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 180-day notice to vacate in advance of action to recover possession of the rental unit. The notice to vacate shall comply with and notify the tenant of the tenant’s right to relocation assistance under the provisions of subchapter VII of this chapter.

(2) Tenants displaced by actions under this subsection shall be entitled to receive relocation assistance as set forth in subchapter VII of this chapter, if the tenants meet the eligibility criteria of that subchapter.

(h)(1) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit for the purpose of immediate, substantial rehabilitation of the housing accommodation if the requirements of § 42-3502.14 and subchapter VII of this chapter have been met. The housing provider shall serve on the tenant a 120-day notice to vacate in advance of his or her action to recover possession of the rental unit. The notice to vacate shall comply with and notify the tenant of the tenant’s right to relocation assistance under subchapter VII of this chapter.

(2) Any tenant displaced from a rental unit by the substantial rehabilitation of the housing accommodation in which the rental unit is located shall have a right to rerent the rental unit immediately upon the completion of the substantial rehabilitation.

(3) Tenants displaced by actions under this subsection shall be entitled to receive relocation assistance as set forth in subchapter VII of this chapter, if the tenants meet the eligibility criteria of that subchapter.

(i)(1) A housing provider may recover possession of a rental unit for the immediate purpose of discontinuing the housing use and occupancy of the rental unit so long as:

(A) The housing provider serves on the tenant a 180-day notice to vacate in advance of his or her action to recover possession of the rental unit. The notice to vacate shall comply with and notify the tenant of the tenant’s right to relocation assistance under the provisions of subchapter VII of this chapter;

(B) The housing provider shall not cause the housing accommodation, of which the unit is a part, to be substantially rehabilitated for a continuous 12-month period beginning from the date that the use is discontinued under this section;

(C) The housing provider shall not resume any housing or commercial use of the unit for a continuous 12-month period beginning from the date that the use is discontinued under this section;

(D) The housing provider shall not resume any housing use of the unit other than rental housing;

(E) Upon resumption of the housing use, the housing provider shall not rerent the unit at a greater rent than would have been permitted under this chapter had the housing use not been discontinued;

(F) The housing provider shall, on a form devised by the Rent Administrator, file with the Rent Administrator a statement including, but not limited to, general information about the housing accommodation, such as address and number of units, the reason for the discontinuance of use, and future plans for the property;

(G) If the housing provider desires to resume a rental housing use of the unit, the housing provider shall notify the Rent Administrator who shall determine whether the provisions of this paragraph have been satisfied; and

(H) The housing provider shall not demand or receive rent for any rental unit which the housing provider has repossessed under this subsection for a 12-month period beginning on the date the housing provider recovered possession of the rental unit.

(2) Tenants displaced by actions under this subsection shall be entitled to receive relocation assistance as set forth in subchapter VII of this chapter, if the tenants meet the eligibility criteria of that subchapter.

(j) In any case where the housing provider seeks to recover possession of a rental unit or housing accommodation to convert the rental unit or housing accommodation to a condominium or cooperative, notice to vacate shall be given according to § 42-3402.06(c).

(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no housing provider shall evict a tenant:

(1) On any day when the National Weather Service predicts at 8:00 a.m. that the temperature at the National Airport weather station will fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius; or

(2) When precipitation is falling at the location of the rental unit.

(k-1) Subsection (k) shall not apply:

(1) Where, in accordance with and as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the tenant has performed an illegal act within the rental unit or housing accommodation;

(2) Where a court of competent jurisdiction has made a specific finding that the tenant’s actions or presence causes undue hardship on the health, welfare, and safety of other tenants or immediate neighbors; or

(3) Where a court of competent jurisdiction has made a specific finding that the tenant has abandoned the premises.

(l) Expired.

(m) This section shall not apply to privately-owned rental housing or housing owned by the federal or District government with regard to drug-related evictions under subchapter I of Chapter 36 of this title.

(n)(1) If the occupancy of a tenant has been or will be terminated by a placard placed by the District government in accordance with section 103 of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations for violations of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations that threaten the life, health, or safety of the tenant, the tenancy shall not be deemed terminated until the unit has been offered for reoccupation to the tenant after the date that physical occupancy ceased.

(2) The Mayor shall maintain a registry of the persons, including their subsequent interim addresses, who were tenants at the time the building was placarded.

(3) At the time of the placarding, the Mayor shall provide a written notice to the tenants of the right to maintain their tenancy and the need to keep the Mayor informed of interim addresses. The notice shall contain the address and telephone number of the office maintaining the registry.

(4) Any notice required under this subchapter shall be effective when sent to the tenant at the address maintained in the registry.

(o) Repealed.

(p) Repealed.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 501, 32 DCR 3089; Feb. 24, 1987, D.C. Law 6-192, § 13(g), 33 DCR 7836; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-139, § 11, 37 DCR 2645; Aug. 26, 1994, D.C. Law 10-164, § 2, 41 DCR 4889; Apr. 29, 1998, D.C. Law 12-86, title IX, § 901, 45 DCR 1172; D.C. Law 13-172, § 1312, 47 DCR 6308; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-281, § 301, 48 DCR 1888; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-213, §§ 31, 32(a), 49 DCR 8140; June 22, 2006, D.C. Law 16-140, § 2(a), 53 DCR 3686; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-273, § 2(b), 54 DCR 859; Apr. 15, 2008, D.C. Law 17-146, § 2, 55 DCR 2554; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 231, 56 DCR 1117; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(h)(1), 56 DCR 1338; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-111, §§ 2182, 7039, 57 DCR 181; Dec. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-172, § 2(c), 63 DCR 12959; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 7045, 64 DCR 7652; Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-245, § 2(a), 66 DCR 962.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2551.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 8-231.03, § 42-2857.01, § 42-3401.04, § 42-3402.02, § 42-3507.01, § 42-3507.02, § 42-3509.02, and § 42-3602.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-172 added subsec. (l).

D.C. Law 13-281 added subsec. (n).

D.C. Law 14-213, in subsec. (n), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 16-140, added pars. (f)(5) and (f)(6) and rewrote pars. (f)(1) and (f)(2).

D.C. Law 16-273 added subsec. (c-1).

D.C. Law 17-146 added subsecs. (o) and (p).

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in subsec. (p).

D.C. Law 17-368, in subsec. (c-1)(1), substituted “§ 16-1001(8)” for “§ 16-1001(5)”.

D.C. Law 18-111, in subsecs. (o)(1)(B) and (10), substituted “Department of Housing and Community Development” for “Department of Human Services”; and rewrote subsec. (o)(2), which had read as follows: “(2) This subsection shall be subject to the availability of funds.”

Cross References

Housing accommodation conversion prerequisites and exemptions, persons with standing, see § 42-3402.02.

Expiration of Law

Expiration of Law 8-139

Section 12(b) of D.C. Law 8-139 provided that the act shall expire 10 years after the effective date of the act. D.C. Law 8-139 became effective on June 13, 1990.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment to the Federal Worker Housing Relief Emergency Act of 2019 (Act 23-5), see § 3 of Supporting Essential Workers Unemployment Insurance Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-14, Feb. 25, 2019, 66 DCR 2469).

For temporary (90 days) exemption of the initial procurement contract entered into in connection with the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 and the Sports Wagering Lottery Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 from the requirements of the Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2010, see § 2 of Sports Wagering Procurement Practices Reform Exemption Emergency Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-6, Feb. 22, 2019, 66 DCR 2449).

For temporary (90 days) enactment of the Federal Worker Housing Relief Emergency Act of 2019, see § 2 of Federal Worker Housing Relief Emergency Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-5, Feb. 6, 2019, 66 DCR 2059).

For temporary (90 days) law regarding landlord procedures during an eviction not subject to the Rental Housing Act of 1985, see § 3 of Eviction Procedure Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-510, Nov. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 12375).

For temporary (90 days) creation of §42-3505.01a, see § 2(b) of Eviction Procedure Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-510, Nov. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 12375).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Eviction Procedure Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-510, Nov. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 12375).

For temporary (90 days) law regarding landlord procedures during an eviction not subject to the Rental Housing Act of 1985, see § 3 of Eviction Procedure Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-426, July 26, 2018, 65 DCR 7985).

For temporary (90 days) creation of § 42-3505.01a, see § 2(b) of Eviction Procedure Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-426, July 26, 2018, 65 DCR 7985).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Eviction Procedure Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-426, July 26, 2018, 65 DCR 7985).

For temporary (90 days) law regarding landlord procedures during non-residential evictions, see § 3 of Eviction Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-425, July 24, 2018, 65 DCR 7709).

For temporary (90 days) creation of § 42-3505.01a, see § 2(b) of Eviction Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-425, July 24, 2018, 65 DCR 7709).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Eviction Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-425, July 24, 2018, 65 DCR 7709).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7045 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7045 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2 of the Rental Housing Act of 1985 Winter of 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-179, January 25, 1994, 41 DCR 520).

For temporary repeal of the Rental Housing Act of 1985 Freezing Temperature Emergency Amendment Act of 1993, effective December 16, 1993 (D.C. Act 10-161; 40 DCR 8874), see § 3 of the Rental Housing Act of 1985 Winter of 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-179, January 25, 1994, 41 DCR 520).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3 of the Drug House Abatement Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-446, December 5, 1996, 43 DCR 6664).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4 of the Real Property Tax Reassessment Second Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-244, January 13, 1998, 45 DCR 652).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4 of the Real Property Tax Reassessment Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-293, February 27, 1998, 45 DCR 1758).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4 of the Real Property Tax Reassessment and Cold Weather Eviction Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-18, February 17, 1999, 46 DCR 2354).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Tenant Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-328, May 9, 2000, 47 DCR 4347).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 1312 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-376, July 24, 2000, 47 DCR 6574).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Tenant Protection Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-411, August 14, 2000, 47 DCR 7285).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1312 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Tenant Evictions Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-244, December 22, 2005, 53 DCR 268).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Tenant Evictions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-327, March 23, 2006, 53 DCR 2582).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2182, 7039 of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Second Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-207, October 15, 2009, 56 DCR 8234).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2182, 7039 of Fiscal Year Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-260, January 4, 2010, 57 DCR 345).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) enactment of the Federal Worker Housing Relief Temporary Act of 2019, see § 2 of Federal Worker Housing Relief Temporary Act of 2019 (D.C. Law 23-3, Apr. 18, 2019, 66 DCR 2456).

For temporary (225 days) law regarding landlord procedures during an eviction not subject to the Rental Housing Act of 1985, see § 3 of Eviction Procedure Reform Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-183, Nov. 27, 2018, 65 DCR 11372).

For temporary (225 days) creation of § 42-3505.01a, see § 2(b) of Eviction Procedure Reform Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-183, Nov. 27, 2018, 65 DCR 11372).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Eviction Procedure Reform Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-183, Nov. 27, 2018, 65 DCR 11372).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Rental Housing Act of 1985 Frigid Temperature Temporary Amendment Act of 1993 (D.C. Law 10-2, May 14, 1993, law notification 40 DCR 3403).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Rental Housing Act of 1985 Frigid Temperature Temporary Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Law 10-97, March 23, 1994, law notification 40 DCR 1812.)

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4 of Real Property Tax Reassessment Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-125, June 10, 1998, law notification 45 DCR 5883).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4 of Real Property Tax Reassessment and Cold Weather Eviction Temporary Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-1, May 20, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 5301).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Tenant Protection Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-158, September 16, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 8064).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Tenant Evictions Temporary Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Law 16-76, April 4, 2006, law notification 53 DCR 3335).

Editor's Notes

Subsection (o)(2), added by Law 17-146 states that this subsection shall not apply until its fiscal effect is included in an approved budget and financial plan.

The Budget Director of the Council of the District of Columbia has determined, as of February 15, 2012, that the fiscal effect of subsection (o)(2), added by Law 17-146, has not been included in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore, the provisions of subsection (o), enacted by Law 17-146, are not in effect.


§ 42–3505.01a. Storage and disposal of tenants' personal property upon eviction.

(a) A housing provider shall not remove an evicted tenant's personal property from a rental unit except as provided in this section.

(b)(1) In addition to any notification from the United States Marshals Service ("Marshals") to the tenant of the date of eviction, a housing provider shall deliver to the tenant a notice confirming the date of eviction not fewer than 21 days before the date of eviction by using the following methods:

(A) Telephone or electronic communication, including by email or mobile text message;

(B) First-class mail to the address of the rental unit; and

(C) Conspicuous posting at the tenant's rental unit in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice.

(2) The notice shall:

(A) State the tenant's name and the address of the rental unit;

(B) Specify the date on which the eviction is scheduled to be executed;

(C) State that the eviction will be executed on that date unless the tenant vacates the rental unit and returns possession of the rental unit to the housing provider;

(D) Prominently warn the tenant that any personal property left in the rental unit will be deemed abandoned 7 days after the time of eviction, excluding Sundays and federal holidays;

(E) Include the phone numbers of the Marshals, the Office of the Tenant Advocate, and the Landlord and Tenant Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia;

(F) State that it is the final notice from the housing provider before the time of eviction, even if the eviction date is postponed by the court or Marshals; and

(G) State that, for 7 days after the time of eviction, the tenant has the right to access the tenant's personal property remaining in the rental unit to remove the personal property from the rental unit:

(i) At times agreed to by the parties, excluding Sundays and federal holidays; provided, that the housing provider shall grant the evicted tenant access to the rental unit on a Saturday if the evicted tenant requests it;

(ii) For no fewer than 16 total hours between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., over a period of not more than 2 days; and

(iii) With no requirement that the tenant pay rent or service fees for the 7-day storage period.

(c)(1) At the time of eviction, the housing provider shall change the locks on the rental unit in the presence of the Marshals, at the housing provider's expense, and take legal possession of the rental unit by receipt of a document from the Marshals.

(2) Any right of the evicted tenant to redeem the tenancy shall be extinguished at the time of eviction.

(d)(1) On the day of eviction, the housing provider shall send by first-class mail to the address of an emergency contact, if provided, and conspicuously post in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice to the evicted tenant, a notice containing the following information:

(A) The name and phone number of at least one agent of the housing provider who the tenant may contact and who can grant access to the rental unit on the housing provider's behalf pursuant to this subsection;

(B) The phone number of the Office of the Tenant Advocate;

(C) The phone number of the Marshals;

(D) The phone number of the Landlord and Tenant Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; and

(E) The text of this subsection, which shall be included in the text of the notice or attached to the notice.

(2) Any personal property of the evicted tenant present in the rental unit at the time of eviction shall remain in the rental unit for 7 days after the time of eviction, excluding Sundays and federal holidays, unless removed by the evicted tenant pursuant to this subsection.

(3) The housing provider shall maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of the evicted tenant during the period that the property remains in the rental unit pursuant to this subsection.

(4)(A) For 7 days after the time of eviction, the housing provider shall grant the evicted tenant access to the rental unit to remove the tenant's personal property from the rental unit:

(i) At times agreed to by the parties, excluding Sundays and federal holidays; provided, that the housing provider shall grant the evicted tenant access to the rental unit on a Saturday if the evicted tenant requests it;

(ii) For no fewer than 16 total hours between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. over a period of not more than 2 days;

(iii) Without requiring the tenant to pay rent or service fees for the 7-day storage period.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, a housing provider may extend the access period at his or her sole and absolute discretion.

(C) If the housing provider fails to grant access to the evicted tenant to remove the evicted tenant's personal property as provided in this paragraph, the evicted tenant shall have a right to injunctive relief, including requiring the housing provider to grant access to the evicted tenant at certain dates and times to retrieve the evicted tenant's personal property and extending the period during which the housing provider must store the evicted tenant's personal property.

(5)(A) Any of the evicted tenant's personal property remaining in the rental unit upon expiration of the period that the property remains in the rental unit pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed abandoned property.

(B) The housing provider shall remove, or dispose of, any abandoned property in the rental unit upon the expiration of the period that the property remains in the rental unit pursuant to this subsection without any further notice or any other obligation to the evicted tenant.

(C) The housing provider shall dispose of any abandoned property in any manner not prohibited by subparagraph (D) of this paragraph or otherwise expressly prohibited by law.

(D) The housing provider is prohibited from placing or causing the placement of abandoned property in an outdoor space other than a licensed disposal facility or lawful disposal receptacle; provided, that a housing provider may place abandoned property or cause abandoned property to be placed in an outdoor private or public space while in the process of transporting the property from the premises for disposal.

(6) An evicted tenant is prohibited from disposing of or causing the disposal of personal property in an outdoor space other than a lawful disposal receptacle; provided, that an evicted tenant may place personal property or cause personal property to be placed in an outdoor private or public space while in the process of transporting the property from the premises.

(e) The housing provider and anyone acting on behalf of the housing provider shall be immune from civil liability for loss or damage to any property deemed abandoned pursuant to this subsection or claims related to its lawful disposal.

(f) This section shall not apply to evictions carried out by the District of Columbia Housing Authority.

(g) If the housing provider fails to comply with the notice requirements of subsections (b) or (d)(1) of this section, the evicted tenant shall have a right to injunctive relief, including a stay on the execution of the eviction until the notice requirements have been met.

[(h)] For the purposes of this section, the term "time of eviction" means the time at which the Marshals execute a writ of restitution.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 501a; as added Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-245, § 2(b), 66 DCR 962.)


§ 42–3505.02. Retaliatory action.

(a) No housing provider shall take any retaliatory action against any tenant who exercises any right conferred upon the tenant by this chapter, by any rule or order issued pursuant to this chapter, or by any other provision of law. Retaliatory action may include any action or proceeding not otherwise permitted by law which seeks to recover possession of a rental unit, action which would unlawfully increase rent, decrease services, increase the obligation of a tenant, or constitute undue or unavoidable inconvenience, violate the privacy of the tenant, harass, reduce the quality or quantity of service, any refusal to honor a lease or rental agreement or any provision of a lease or rental agreement, refusal to renew a lease or rental agreement, termination of a tenancy without cause, or any other form of threat or coercion.

(b) In determining whether an action taken by a housing provider against a tenant is retaliatory action, the trier of fact shall presume retaliatory action has been taken, and shall enter judgment in the tenant’s favor unless the housing provider comes forward with clear and convincing evidence to rebut this presumption, if within the 6 months preceding the housing provider’s action, the tenant:

(1) Has made a witnessed oral or written request to the housing provider to make repairs which are necessary to bring the housing accommodation or the rental unit into compliance with the housing regulations;

(2) Contacted appropriate officials of the District government, either orally in the presence of a witness or in writing, concerning existing violations of the housing regulations in the rental unit the tenant occupies or pertaining to the housing accommodation in which the rental unit is located, or reported to the officials suspected violations which, if confirmed, would render the rental unit or housing accommodation in noncompliance with the housing regulations;

(3) Legally withheld all or part of the tenant’s rent after having given a reasonable notice to the housing provider, either orally in the presence of a witness or in writing, of a violation of the housing regulations;

(4) Organized, been a member of, or been involved in any lawful activities pertaining to a tenant organization;

(5) Made an effort to secure or enforce any of the tenant’s rights under the tenant’s lease or contract with the housing provider; or

(6) Brought legal action against the housing provider.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 502, 32 DCR 3089.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2552.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3402.10 and § 42-3502.05.


§ 42–3505.03. Conciliation and arbitration service.

(a) There is established a conciliation and arbitration service (“service”) within the Division.

(b) The service shall provide a voluntary, nonadversarial forum for the resolution of disputes arising between housing providers and tenants in the District.

(c) The staff of the service shall be designated by the Rent Administrator and shall be persons familiar with the problems of the law relating to housing-provider and tenant relations and with knowledge of conciliation and arbitration practices.

(d) Either a housing provider or a tenant may initiate a proceeding before the service.

(e) No person shall be compelled to attend a session of the service or participate in any proceeding before its staff. The results of any proceeding shall not be binding upon any party, except (1) to the extent provided in § 42-3505.04, or (2) with respect to a conciliation agreement, to the extent that a party to the proceeding agrees to be bound by the conciliation agreement. No evidence pertaining to a conciliation or arbitration proceeding shall be admissible in any judicial proceeding under other provisions of law relating to housing-provider and tenant disputes.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 503, 32 DCR 3089.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2553.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3505.04.


§ 42–3505.04. Arbitration.

(a) By mutual consent, the housing provider and tenant may submit for arbitration any dispute not satisfactorily resolved under § 42-3505.03.

(b) A request for arbitration shall be in writing.

(c) The Rent Administrator shall designate 3 members of the Division’s staff, other than those who heard the dispute under § 42-3505.03, to serve as a panel of arbitrators.

(d) The arbitration panel shall issue a written recommendation to resolve the dispute within 10 days of the request.

(e) Agreements entered into between the housing provider and tenant under the panel’s recommendation shall be approved by the Rent Administrator and shall be binding upon the parties.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 504, 32 DCR 3089.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2554.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3505.03.


§ 42–3505.05. Prohibition of discrimination against elderly tenants or families with children.

(a) It is unlawful for a housing provider to discriminate against families receiving or eligible to receive Tenant Assistance Program assistance, elderly tenants, or families with children when renting housing accommodations.

(b) Any protections provided by subsection (a) of this section and any penalties provided in § 42-3509.01 shall be in addition to any other provision of law.

(c) Allegations of violations of this section that are made by families receiving or eligible to receive Tenant Assistance Program assistance, by elderly tenants, or by families with children shall be promptly investigated and handled by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which shall provide the complaining party with a written report upon the conclusion of the investigation.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 505, 32 DCR 3089; Oct. 2, 1987, D.C. Law 7-30, § 4, 34 DCR 5304.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-2555.

Cross References

Discriminatory practices in real estate transactions, see § 2-140

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Tenant Assistance Program Amendment Temporary Act of 1987 (D.C. Law 7-48, December 10, 1987, law notification 34 DCR 8107).


§ 42–3505.06. Right of tenants to organize.

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

(1) “CPI” means the average of the Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Area for all-urban consumers published by the Department of Labor, or any successor index, as of the close of the 12-month period ending on November 30 of such year.

(2) “Tenant organizer” means a person who:

(A) Assists tenants in establishing and operating a tenant organization; and

(B) Is not an employee or representative of the current or prospective owner, the current or prospective manager, or an agent of such persons.

(b) Tenants shall have the right to:

(1) Self-organization;

(2) Form, join, meet, or assist one another within and without tenant organizations;

(3) Meet and confer through representatives of their own choosing with an owner;

(4) Engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection; and

(5) Refrain from such activity.

(c)(1) If a multifamily housing accommodation has a written policy favoring canvassing, any tenant organizer who is not a tenant shall be afforded the same privileges and rights of access as other uninvited outside parties in the normal course of operations.

(2) If the multifamily housing accommodation does not have a consistently enforced, written policy against canvassing, the multifamily housing accommodation shall be treated as if it has a policy favoring canvassing.

(3) If a multifamily housing accommodation has a consistently enforced, written policy against canvassing, a tenant shall accompany a tenant organizer who is not a tenant while the tenant organizer is on the property of the multifamily housing accommodation. The tenant organizer who is not a tenant shall be afforded the same privileges and rights of access as other invited outside parties in the normal course of operations.

(d) No owner or agent of an owner of a multifamily housing accommodation shall interfere with the right of a tenant or tenant organizer to conduct the following activities related to the establishment or operation of a tenant organization:

(1) Distributing literature in common areas, including lobby areas;

(2) Placing literature at or under tenants’ doors;

(3) Posting information on all building bulletin boards;

(4) Assisting tenants to participate in tenant organization activities;

(5) Convening tenant or tenant organization meetings at any reasonable time and in any appropriate space that would reasonably be interpreted as areas that the tenant had access to under the terms of their lease, including any tenant’s unit, a community room, a common area including lobbies, or other available space; provided, that an owner or agent of owner shall not attend or make audio recordings of such meetings unless permitted to do so by the tenant organization, if one exists, or by a majority of tenants in attendance, if a tenant organization does not exist;

(6) Formulating responses to owner actions, including:

(A) Rent or rent ceiling increases or requests for rent or rent ceiling increases;

(B) Proposed increases, decreases, or other changes in the housing accommodation’s facilities and services; and

(C) Conversion of residential units to nonresidential use, cooperative housing, or condominiums;

(7) Proposing that the owner or management modify the housing accommodation’s facilities and services; and

(8) Any other activity reasonably related to the establishment or operation of a tenant organization.

(e) Any owner, any person with an ownership interest in an owner, or an agent of an owner of a multifamily housing accommodation who knowingly violates any provision of this section, or any rule or regulation issued or promulgated in furtherance of this section, shall be subject to:

(1) A civil penalty for each violation not to exceed $10,000, which shall be increased annually, beginning January 1, 2008, by an amount equal to $10,000 multiplied by the percentage by which the CPI for the preceding year ending November 30 exceeds the CPI for the year ending November 30, 2006;

(2) An injunctive order respecting future behavior;

(3) Liability for damages to tenants, or a tenant organization or its members;

(4) Suspension or revocation of the owner or agent’s business license or registration, during which period the rent for any rental unit in the housing accommodation shall not be increased; or

(5) Reasonable attorney’s fees under § 42-3509.02.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 506; as added Sept. 19, 2006, D.C. Law 16-160, § 2, 53 DCR 5389.)


§ 42–3505.07. Notice of lease termination by tenant who is a victim of an intrafamily offense.

(a) For purposes of this section, the term “qualified third party” means any of the following persons acting in their official capacity:

(1) A law enforcement officer, as defined in § 4-1301.02(14);

(2) A sworn officer of the D.C. Housing Authority Office of Public Safety;

(3) A health professional, as defined in § 3-1201.01(8); or

(4) A domestic violence counselor as defined [in] § 14-310(a)(2).

(b) If a tenant, who is a victim, or who is the parent or guardian of a minor victim, of an intrafamily offense or actions relating to an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8), provides a housing provider with a copy of an order under § 16-1005 in response to a petition filed by or on behalf of the tenant, the tenant shall be released from obligations under the rental agreement.

(c) If a tenant who is a victim, or who is the parent or guardian of a minor victim, of an intrafamily offense or actions relating to an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8), provides a housing provider with documentation signed by a qualified third party showing that the tenant has reported the intrafamily offense to the third party acting in his or her official capacity, the tenant shall be released from obligations under the rental agreement.

(d) The release from a rental agreement shall be effective upon the earlier of:

(1) Fourteen days after the housing provider receives:

(A) Written notice of the lease termination under this section; and

(B) Documentation pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of this section; or

(2) Upon the commencement of a new tenancy for the unit.

(e) Any request by the tenant for termination of the rental agreement under this section shall be made within 90 days of the reported act, event, or circumstance that was cited in the petition or reported to a qualified third party.

(f) Notwithstanding any penalty provided under a rental agreement, a tenant who is released from the rental agreement under this section shall be liable only for his or her rental payment obligation, pro-rated to the earlier of:

(1) The date the housing provider rents the unit to a new tenant or party who succeeds to the tenant’s rights under the original agreement; or

(2) Fourteen days after the request for the release.

(g) This section shall not affect section 2908 of the Housing Regulations of the District of Columbia, effective August 11, 1955 (C.O. 55-1503; 14 DCMR § 308 through § 311), or the tenant’s liability for delinquent, unpaid rent, or other sums owed to the housing provider before the lease was terminated by the tenant under this section.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 507; as added Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-273, § 2(c), 54 DCR 859; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(h)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1402.21.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368, in subsecs. (b) and (c), substituted “§ 16-1001(8)” for “§ 16-1001(5)”.


§ 42–3505.08. Victims of an intrafamily offense protection — Change locks and notice.

(a) Upon the written request of a tenant who is the victim of an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8), a housing provider shall change the locks to all entrance doors to that tenant’s unit within 5 business days; provided, that if the perpetrator of the intrafamily offense is a tenant in the same dwelling unit as the tenant who makes the request, the tenant who makes the request shall provide the landlord with a copy of a protective order issued pursuant to § 16-1005 ordering the perpetrator to stay away from, or avoid, the tenant who makes the request, any other household member, or the dwelling unit. If the perpetrator of the intrafamily offense is not, or is no longer, a tenant in the same dwelling unit as the tenant who makes the request, no documentation of the intrafamily offense shall be required.

(b) The housing provider shall pay the cost of changing the locks. No later than 45 days after the housing provider provides the tenant who makes the request with documentation of the cost of changing the locks, the tenant shall reimburse the housing provider for such cost and any associated fee; provided, that the fee shall not exceed the fee imposed on any other tenant for changing the locks under any other circumstances.

(c) Upon receipt of a copy of the court order pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, unless the court orders that the perpetrator be allowed to return to the unit for some purpose, the housing provider shall not provide the perpetrator with keys to the unit or otherwise permit the perpetrator access to the unit or to property within the unit.

(d) The housing provider shall not be liable to the perpetrator for any civil damages as a result of actions the housing provider takes to comply with this section.

(e) This section shall not be construed to relieve the perpetrator of any obligation under a lease agreement or any other liability to the housing provider.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 508; as added Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-273, § 2(c), 54 DCR 859; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(h)(3), 56 DCR 1338.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368, in subsec. (a), substituted “§ 16-1001(8)” for “§ 16-1001(5)”.