Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Residential Drug-Related Evictions.


§ 42–3601. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Civic association” means:

(A) A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:

(i) Comprised of residents of a community within which a nuisance is located;

(ii) Operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and general neighborhood improvement and enhancement; and

(iii) Exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code; or

(B) A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:

(i) Comprised of residents of a contiguous community that is defined by specific geographic boundaries, within which a nuisance is located; and

(ii) Operated for the promotion of the welfare, improvement, and enhancement of that community.

(2) “Closure” means the closing of a rental unit or housing accommodation.

(3) “Community association” means:

(A) A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:

(i) Comprised of residents of a community within which a nuisance is located;

(ii) Operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and general neighborhood improvement and enhancement; and

(iii) Exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code; or

(B) A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:

(i) Comprised of residents of a contiguous community that is defined by specific geographic boundaries, within which a nuisance is located; and

(ii) Operated for the promotion of the welfare, improvement, and enhancement of that community.

(4) “Controlled dangerous substance” means any of the controlled dangerous substances as defined in § 48-901.02(4).

(5) “Controlled Substances Act” means the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, approved October 27, 1970 (84 Stat. 1243; 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.).

(6) “Court” means the Landlord and Tenant Branch of the Civil Division of the Superior Court.

(7) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(8) “Drug haven” means a housing accommodation, or land appurtenant to or common areas of a housing accommodation where drugs are illegally stored, manufactured, used, or distributed.

(9) “Drug-related eviction” means an eviction pursuant to this subchapter.

(10) “Drug” means a controlled substance as defined in § 33-504(4) [repealed] or the Controlled Substances Act.

(11) “Housing accommodation” means a building that is or contains at least one rental unit and the land appurtenant to the building.

(12) “Housing provider” means:

(A) A landlord, owner, lessor, sublessor, or assignee;

(B) The agent of a landlord, owner, lessor, sublessor, or assignee; or

(C) A person entitled to receive compensation for the use or occupancy of a rental unit within a housing accommodation.

(13) “Internal Revenue Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved October 22, 1986 (100 Stat. 2085; 26 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.).

(14) “Manufacture” shall have the same meaning as that term has in § 48-901.02(13) or the Controlled Substances Act.

(15) “Nuisance” means a property that is used:

(A) By persons who assemble for the specific purpose of illegally using a controlled dangerous substance;

(B) For the illegal manufacture or distribution of:

(i) A controlled dangerous substance; or

(ii) Drug paraphernalia, as defined in § 48-1101(3); or

(C) For the illegal storage or concealment of a controlled dangerous substance in sufficient quantity to reasonably indicate under all the circumstances an intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense:

(i) A controlled dangerous substance; or

(ii) Drug paraphernalia, as defined in § 48-1101(3).

(16) “Occupant” means a person authorized by the tenant or housing provider to be on the premises of the rental unit.

(17) “Rental unit” means an apartment, room, or part of a publicly or privately owned housing accommodation that is rented or offered for rent for residential occupancy, and the land appurtenant to the apartment, room, or part of the housing accommodation.

(18) “Resident association” means an organization of residents of a multifamily building or a single complex of jointly managed multifamily buildings.

(19) “Tenant” means a lessee, sublessee, or other person entitled to the possession or occupancy of a rental unit.

(20) “Uniform Controlled Substances Act” means Chapter 9 of Title 48.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1302, 47 DCR 6308; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-281, § 107, 48 DCR 1888; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-213, § 32(b), 49 DCR 8140.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-281 rewrote par. (4) which had read:

“(4) ‘Controlled dangerous substance’ means any of the controlled substances as defined in § 48-902.04(1) and (2).”

D.C. Law 14-213, in par. (4), validated a previously made technical correction.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1302 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 § 1302 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

References in Text

Section 33-504, referred to in par. (10), did not exist in the 1981 Edition at the time of the recodification into the 2001 Edition.


§ 42–3602. Action for possession of rental unit used as a drug haven.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of § 16-1501, or § 42-3505.01, a housing provider may commence an action in the Court to recover possession of a rental unit or the Mayor may commence an action in the Court to evict a tenant or occupant in a rental unit. The following persons may commence an action to abate a nuisance in the Court: the Mayor, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the civic association within whose boundaries the nuisance is located, or the community association within whose boundaries the nuisance is located. The recovery or eviction shall be ordered if the Court has determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the rental unit is a drug haven or that a nuisance exists. In making the determination that the rental unit is a drug haven or that a nuisance exists, the Court shall consider:

(1) Whether a tenant or occupant of the rental unit has been charged with a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Act due to activities that occurred within the housing accommodation that contains the rental unit, or has violated a term of parole or probation for a previous conviction under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Act;

(2) Whether the rental unit has been the subject of more than one drug-related search or seizure that has resulted in the arrest of a tenant or occupant;

(3) Whether a firearm has been discharged within the rental unit;

(4) The testimony of a witness concerning the possession, manufacture, storage, distribution, use, or the attempted possession, manufacture, storage, distribution, or use of an illegal drug by a tenant or occupant in the housing accommodation that contains the rental unit;

(5) The general reputation of the property to corroborate testimony based on personal knowledge or observation, or evidence seized during the execution of a search and seizure warrant; provided, that this shall not, in and of itself, be sufficient to establish the existence of a drug haven or nuisance;

(6) Evidence that the drug haven or nuisance had been discontinued at the time of the filing of the complaint or at the time of the hearing, which evidence will not bar the granting of appropriate relief by the Court; or

(7) Any other relevant and admissible evidence that demonstrates that the rental unit is or is not a drug haven or nuisance.

(b) A notice of the action shall be served upon the tenant or occupant and housing provider at least 5 days prior to a hearing.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1303, 47 DCR 6308.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3603, § 42-3604, and § 42-3606.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1303 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 § 1303 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3603. Preliminary injunction review.

(a) After commencement of an action under § 42-3602 and upon request of a party, the Court shall hold a hearing to determine if a preliminary injunction should be granted to prevent a tenant from directly or indirectly maintaining a drug haven or nuisance.

(b) The Court may grant a motion for a preliminary injunction if the plaintiff meets the necessary legal requirements for a preliminary injunction. The factors that the Court shall consider in determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to a preliminary injunction are:

(1) Whether the plaintiff is likely to prevail on the merits of the case;

(2) Whether, in the absence of relief, the plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm;

(3) Whether there will be substantial harm to the defendant or another party if relief is granted; and

(4) Whether the public interest favors granting relief.

(c) The housing provider and the Mayor shall not be required to give bond to obtain an injunction.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1304, 47 DCR 6308.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3606.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1304 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 § 1304 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3604. Full hearing.

(a)(1) Within 10 days of the issuance of the preliminary injunction, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the Court shall hold a full hearing on the merits of the eviction action. If a hearing for a preliminary injunction has not been requested, the Court shall expeditiously schedule a full hearing. If it is determined by a preponderance of the evidence, after consideration of the factors set forth in § 42-3602, that the rental unit is a drug haven, the Court shall issue a final order that mandates one or more of the following:

(A) Eviction of the tenant or occupant within 72 hours; or

(B) Closure of the rental unit for a period of time to be decided by the Court.

(2) The Court may order the owner of the property to submit for court approval a plan of correction to ensure, to the extent reasonably possible, that the property will not again be used for a drug haven or nuisance.

(b) Execution of a final order shall occur within 5 days of the issuance of the final order, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. If the United States Marshal of the District of Columbia has not executed the final order within 5 days of issuance of the final order, the final order shall continue to be executable and valid, in accordance with Rule 16(a) of the Court Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) The Court shall not enter a final order to evict a tenant or occupant against whom the action was filed if the tenant or occupant shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the events or actions upon which the judgment may be granted:

(1) Could not reasonably have been known to the tenant or occupant;

(2) Were not part of a pattern and practice of the tenant or occupant of the unit; or

(3) Were reported to the Metropolitan Police Department by the tenant or occupant.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1305, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1305 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 § 1305 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3605. Default judgment.

The Court shall not enter a default judgment to evict a tenant or occupant who has failed to plead or otherwise defend unless, based upon evidence presented by the plaintiff, the Court determines that the rental unit is a drug haven or nuisance.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1306, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1306 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 § 1306 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3606. Complaint by affected tenant or resident association.

(a) To initiate an action pursuant to § 42-3602, an affected tenant, resident, or resident association may submit a petition accompanied by a complaint for review by the Mayor. The housing provider may be named as party plaintiff in the petition. The review of the petition by the Mayor shall be completed within 7 days of receipt of the petition.

(b) The petition shall set forth the following:

(1) The date and time the affected tenant, resident, or resident association witnessed the possession, manufacture, storage, distribution, use, or attempted possession, manufacture, storage, distribution, or use of an illegal drug in the rental unit by a tenant or occupant;

(2) The name, address, and telephone number of any corroborating witness; and

(3) Any other information relevant to the petition that can be verified by a named witness or independent authority, including the Metropolitan Police Department.

(c) If, upon review, the Mayor determines that a petition and complaint are complete, the affected tenant, resident, or resident association may file the complaint with the Court to commence an action pursuant to § 42-3602.

(d) The Court shall proceed to consider the complaint under §§ 42-3602 and 42-3603.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1307, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1307 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 § 1307 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3607. Mayor’s authority and responsibility.

(a) The Mayor shall establish within the Metropolitan Police Department a division to provide assistance to, supervision of, or protection to a plaintiff who has obtained an eviction order or other relief pursuant to this subchapter.

(b) The Mayor shall report to the Council on an annual basis on the effectiveness of this subchapter.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1308, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1308 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 § 1308 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority Pursuant to D.C. Law 13-172, the Residential Drug-Related Evictions Re-enactment Act of 2000, see Mayor’s Order 2006-206, December 30, 2005 53 DCR 2701).


§ 42–3608. Court costs and attorney’s fees.

The Court may award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to a civic association, community association, or resident association that is the prevailing plaintiff in an action brought under this subchapter.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1309, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1309 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 § 1309 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3609. Availability of other remedies.

The provisions of this subchapter shall not limit the availability of other remedies under law or other equitable relief whether or not an adequate remedy exists at law.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1310, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1310 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 § 1310 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).


§ 42–3610. Rules.

(a) The Mayor shall issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter. 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 review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved. Nothing in this section shall affect any requirements imposed upon the Mayor by subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(b) The Mayor may issue emergency rules without prior Council approval, which shall be effective for not more than 120 days.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 1311, 47 DCR 6308.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of section, see § 1311 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 § 1311 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

Resolutions

Resolution 16-614, the “Residential Drug-Related Evictions Regulations Approval Resolution of 2006”, was approved effective April 18, 2006.