This week Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced legislation, the Rent Control Housing Clearinghouse Amendment Act of 2015, to the DC Council, which would establish an online database of every single rental unit subject to the Washington, DC Rental Housing Act, and therefore rent control. It should be noted that while Councilmember Bonds’ press release refers to the legislation applying to affordable housing, the actual text of the bill applies to every unit subject to rent control, which is a very different standard than just “affordable housing.”
The creation of a database of every single rent control unit in Washington, DC would be a monumental task. The bill calls for the database to maintain tremendously detailed information on each unit, such as Basic Business License number, RAD registration number, Certificate of Occupancy number, housing inspection dates, administrative orders, and historic rent information. Perhaps most importantly, there is no information provided on who would be checking for compliance, or what penalties would apply for failing to comply. At this point, the Rent Control Housing Clearinghouse Amendment Act of 2015 seems more political than realistic.