October 6

Public Hearing on DC Council Bills to Amend the DC Rental Housing Act

The DC Council will be hosting a public hearing on six bills to amend Washington, DC Landlord and Tenant law. The six bills are: B20-052, Rent Control Voluntary Agreement Procedure Amendment Act of 2013; B20-074, Residential Lease Omnibus Amendment Act of 2013; B20-830, the Rent Control Amendment Act of 2014; B20-837, the Rent Control Improvement and Protection Amendment Act of 2014; B20-895, the Rent Control Hardship Petition Amendment Act of 2014; and Bill 20-915, the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Bona Fide Offer Clarification Amendment Act of 2014. The hearing will take place on October 14, 2014, at 11:00 AM, in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

The proposed legislation with the longest potential reach is the Residential Lease Omnibus Amendment Act. The new law attempts to answer questions such as: Can a landlord charge fee other than rent and still be in rent control compliance? When can a landlord enter a tenant’s unit? and Can a landlord require a tenant to give more than 30 days’ notice to vacate?

For instance, the new law would prohibit a landlord from charging a mandatory fee except as included in the maximum rent charged. This could affect landlords that charge for air conditioning units or pet fees. The new law would limit a landlord’s access to a “reasonable time” for a “reasonable purpose” with “reasonable notice.” These are defined as from 8 am to 6 pm with written notice at lease 48 hours prior to entering. The new law would also limit a landlord’s ability to require more than 30 days notice prior to vacating.

It will be interesting to see whether these bills are enacted as is or with amendments. It is clear, though, the the DC Counsel has rental housing on its mind and landlord and tenant law in DC is an ever-evolving field.

July 15

Washington, DC is the place to flip

A study by Redfin has concluded that Washington, DC is one of the 10 most profitable cities to buy, fix, and sell real estate. Within the greater DC area, Petworth and Brookland were named two of the nation’s three most profitable neighborhoods. A description of the findings can be found here.

May 18

DC Landlord and Tenant Law Rules Change Regarding Writ Fees and the Amount Required to Avoid Eviction

A copy of the new Washington DC Landlord and Tenant Trans Lux Form (Form 6) can be found here: New Trans Lux Form (Form 6)

The notice To public regarding the Rule change reads as follows:

L&T Rule 15 has been amended, effective April 16, 2014. The amendment includes an important change to the way the redemption amount (or Trans-Lux amount) is calculated. Under the amended rule:

  1. When the Landlord files a writ of restitution, the amount a Tenant must pay to the Landlord to avoid eviction will increase by $18 (not $213).
  2. If the Tenant waits until the U.S. Marshals Service has arrived on the premises to redeem the tenancy, the amount the Tenant must pay to the Landlord to avoid eviction will increase by $195 (over and above the $18 described in #1 for a total of $213).

The amended rule applies in all cases where the Landlord has obtained a judgment for possession based on nonpayment of rent and the Tenant has not yet redeemed the tenancy, regardless of what information was previously provided in the Notice to Tenant of Payment Required to Avoid Eviction (Form 6).

Form 6 has been amended to reflect the amendment to Rule 15. The amended Form 6 also removes the requirement that a Landlord have the form notarized. Effective immediately Landlords who are required to file a Form 6 must use the new form. Copies of Form 6 are available in the Clerk’s Office, Room 110, in Building B.

The amendment to Rule 15 reflects the Court’s practice of returning $195 of the writ fee to the Landlord if the writ is canceled, expired, or quashed and the landlord does not apply for an alias writ.




April 13

Proposed Amendments to SCR Civ Pro L&T 15 and Trans Lux Form

The District of Columbia Superior Court Rules Committee has issued proposed amendments to DC Landlord and Tenant Branch Rule 15 and L&T Form 6 (Trans Lux Form).

Written comments are due May 12, 2014.

The biggest proposed change involves the treatment of the Writ of Restitution filing fee.  In the past, as soon as the Writ was filed, a landlord was entitled to charge the entire $213 filing fee to the tenant as part of the redemption amount.  When the court recently changed its procedure and began refunding Writ fees in cases where the eviction never occurred, an ambiguity arose as to when a landlord had to provide a corresponding credit to a tenant who had paid the Writ fee.  The proposed amendment would only allow the landlord to pass along the nonrefundable $18 charge to the tenant at the time the Writ is filed. The landlord would only be allowed to pass along the remaining $195 charge to the tenant if the US Marshals arrive on the premises to conduct the eviction.

The proposed amendments can be found here: Notice of Proposed Amendments to Superior Court Rule of Procedure.

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