Oct 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.