District of Columbia Rental Laws

Written on February 14, 2014 by , updated on January 2, 2018

Flag of Washington DCThis article summarizes some key District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information.  All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing and you have a responsibility to perform your own research when applying the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association.

Official Rules, Regulations and Guides

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: One month’s rent (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.2)
  • Restriction on Deposit: If the tenant has occupied a unit since July 17, 1985, and no deposit was collected then, a landlord shall not demand or receive a security deposit now. (D.C. Code § 42-3502.17)
  • Security Deposit Interest:
    • Landlord is required to earn interest for the tenant on any security deposit for tenancies with a duration of 12 months or more. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 311.2)
    • Landlord must deposit the security deposit into an interest bearing escrow account, for the sole purposes of holding such deposits, with a financial institution in the District of Columbia within 30 days of receipt. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.3)
    • At the end of every year, the landlord shall disclose where the tenants’ security deposits are held and what the prevailing rate was for each 6-month period over the past year. At the termination of tenancy, the housing provider must pay the accrued interest to the tenant and shall also list the interest rate for each 6-month period during the tenancy. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.7).
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Yes, deposited into an escrow or separate account within 30 days of receipt (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.4). The owner of more than one residential building may establish one (1) escrow account for holding security deposits or other payments by the tenants of those buildings. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.5)
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 45 days to return deposit (and interest) or notify tenant of withholdings. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 309.1).  Landlord has 30 days after sending notice of withholdings to refund the remaining deposit. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 309.2)
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 309.2)
  • Require Advanced Notice of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: Required. The owner shall provide written receipts for all monies paid by the tenant as rent, security, or otherwise, unless the payment is made by personal check, and is to include the exact amount received, the date the monies are received, and the purpose of the payment. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 306)
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to comply with the statutes regarding security deposits (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 309.1 and § 309.2), the tenant is entitled to a full return of deposit, including interest as provided in D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 309.11, and landlord may incur a civil fine of not more than $ 5000 for each violation.

Lease, Rent & Fees:

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice of Non-renewal – Lease with a Fixed Term: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. (D.C. Code § 42-3201)
  • Notice of Non-renewal – Quarterly Lease: 30 days (D.C. Code § 42-3202)
  • Notice of Non-renewal – Month-to-Month Lease: 30 days (D.C. Code § 42-3202)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: The owner may inspect the dwelling unit within three (3) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, before or after the termination of the tenancy. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 310.1) The owner shall notify the tenant in writing, at least 10 days before the inspection, of the time and date of the inspection. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 310.3/4)
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: 30 days notice to pay or move-out. Landlord can file for eviction after 30 days. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.01) (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 4301)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 30 days notice to remedy the violation or move-out. Landlord can file for eviction after 30 days. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.01 (b)(c)) (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 4301)
  • Unconditional Quit Termination: Landlord is allowed to unconditionally terminate the lease if a court has determined that the tenant has performed an illegal act within the rental unit. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.01(c)) (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 4301)
  • Month-to-Month after Fixed Lease: As the tenant continues to pay the rent to which the housing provider is entitled for the rental unit, the tenant may continue to occupy the dwelling in a month-to-month capacity. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.01(a))
  • Required Notice before Entry for Any Reason: No Statute, but at least 24 hours notice is recommended.
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statue
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (Simpson v. Lee, 499 A.2d 889 (1985))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No Statute (Simpson v. Lee, 499 A.2d 889 (1985))

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Refusal to surrender possession; double rent: If the tenant, after having given notice of his intention to quit as aforesaid, shall refuse, without reasonable excuse, to surrender possession according to such notice, he shall be liable to the landlord for rent at double the rate of rent payable according to the terms of tenancy for all the time that the tenant shall so wrongfully hold over, to be recovered in the same way as the rent accruing before the termination of the tenancy.  (D.C. Code § 42-3207)
  • Notice to Tenants of Housing Code Provisions: At the start of each tenancy, the landlord shall provide to the tenant, a copy of Chapter 3: Landlord and Tenant laws found in D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 3. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 300)
  • Copy of the Lease: The owner shall provide to the tenant upon execution (or within seven (7) days after execution) an exact, legible, completed copy of any agreement or application which the tenant has signed. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 303.1 )
  • Disclosure of Terms: For each security deposit or other payment, the landlord shall clearly state in the lease or agreement, or on the receipt for the deposit or other payment, the terms and conditions under which the payment was made. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 308.6)
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of domestic violence status. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.07)
    • Termination of Lease: If a tenant gives a landlord at least 14 days’ written notice, and proof of the claim, the landlord shall release the tenant from the rental agreement. The request must be made within 90 days of the reported act of domestic violence. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.07)
    • Locks: Landlords must change the locks if requested by a domestic violence victim.  The landlord shall pay for the initial cost of the expense, but shall be reimbursed by the tenant within 45 days. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.08)
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate a lease, refuse to renew a lease, or lower/discontinue services to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, has been involved in a tenant’s organization, or as asserted his or her rights in good faith. (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 307). Retaliation is assumed if landlord takes action on tenant within 6 months after tenant exercises any of these rights. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.02)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

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93 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • DC Resident

    Since there is nothing under Real Property on late rent fees, would the laws governing Usury and the section on consumer protection apply? Please see: http://government.dc.gov/DC/Government/Data+&+Transparency/Consumer+Protection/DC+Consumer+Protection+Laws/Interest+and+Usury+Law which states that:

    (b) No delinquent or late charge shall be contracted for or received which does not meet all of the following
    requirements:
    (1) the delinquency shall have continued for at least 10 calendar days;
    (2) a delinquent or late charge shall not have already been charged for the same delinquent or late periodic
    installment; and
    (3) the delinquent or late charge shall not exceed 5% of the total amount of the delinquent or late periodic installment
    of principal and interest.

    Please let me know what you think.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi there, you raise a really good question to which I don’t know the answer. I suggesting taking to a DC attorney or one of the legal aid orgs in the district. Sometimes there is overlap in the different kinds of law but sometime housing law is a beast of its own.

  • Harvey Harley

    I need to know if a home in which I rent a room, that has been in foreclosure for the last four years, can I be evicted without any notice by the bank or the city? How much notice is required under DC law??

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Harvey,

      It’s not a simple answer. DC has some amazing laws to protect tenant’s rights, but I really don’t know how that plays into it if it’s been a bank-owned property for 4 years. Have you been paying rent to the bank that whole time, and if so, what type of lease did you have?

  • Frimpomaa

    I have tenant who originally signed 1 year agreement and now it has gone month to month. If I want to raise rent do I have to position a new lease?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Frimpomaa,

      Here’s an excerpt from the DC tenant survival guide

      D. Legal Requirements for Rent Increases
      Landlords must meet the following standards to legally raise rents:
      Notice: The landlord must give written notice of a rent increase at least 30 days before the next rent payment date. The notice must contain a statement of the current rent, the increased rent, and justification for the rent increase. The notice should also include a summary of tenant rights to challenge the rent increase and a list of sources of technical assistance.

      You can read more on Page 21: http://ota.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ota/publication/attachments/Tenant_Survival_Guide.pdf

  • Osedeba

    Urban turf released an articles (http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_growing_airbnb_economy_and_what_it_might_mean_for_dc/8069)
    which states the rules for short-term rentals but it does not quote laws and I am struggling to find the statutes that govern rentals that are less than 29 days.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Osedeba,

      Check out these statutes (click on View Text to download the section)
      http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/gateway/TitleHome.aspx?TitleNumber=14

      Landlord-Tenant laws typically apply wherever there is a landlord-tenant relationship. Hotels and nightly rentals typically follow the rules in sections 14-10, 14-11, and 14-13.

      AirBnB walks a thin line because it uses residential properties for hotel-like nightly rentals. Many municipalities don’t really know how to handle it, and some cities have gone as far as prohibiting any sort of nightly rental unless you have a hotel license. I’m not sure about DC though.

  • Jeannie Tumbarello

    If ypu own an 8 unit bldg and you have tenant who is alway causing issues is there a way to evict them?They currently have 5 people living in the apartment and the owner is paying for their utilies (water & electric)where everyone else in bldg pays their own electric.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jeannie,

      Generally speaking, the only ways to terminate a fixed-term lease early are:
      1. The tenant in a material violating the lease agreement
      2. The tenant doesn’t pay rent when it’s due
      3. Both parties agree to terminate it
      4. The unit becomes inhabitable
      5. The tenant is a victim of Domestic Violence
      6. Or the tenant has committed a crime

      So, can you think of a few areas that your tenant has violated the lease – perhaps allowed other to live in the unit without the landlord’s permission?

      In DC a landlord can termination the lease for a violation with 30 days notice to remedy the violation or move-out. Landlord can file for eviction after 30 days. (D.C. Code § 42-3505.01 (b)(c)) (D.C. Mun. Regs. 14, §§ 4301)

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, but rather I’m just an experienced landlord who has assembled this article. Please talk to an attorney if you’re looking for legal advice.

  • Tulip

    I am going to rent out my condo in NW DC. Do you have a recommendation for a lawyer who can review the lease and provide guidance on certain verbiage to use? I want to make sure I have a thorough lease since DC is so tenant friendly. Thanks!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Tulip,

      Whenever I need a lawyer in a new area, I use Avvo.com to find one.

      I know PM friends who have used Kass and Associates in DC, and been happy with them: http://www.kmklawyers.com/

      Benny use to write a real estate legal column for the Washington Post.

      Also, be sure you check out the links to the DC gov sites in the article above. Those sites offer a lot of helpful info.

      If you’re looking for a DC specific link, check out our recommended legal form companies. We aren’t affiliates of them, but rather, think they are just high-quality: http://www.landlordology.com/directory/#legal

  • Daniel Preston

    In DC, does landlord have a Right of Entry (to exhibit property to potential buyers) with reasonable notice if there is 
no stated provision in lease, and if tenant is not present; is tenant consent 
required and can it 
be withheld citing Quiet Enjoyment?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Daniel,

      There is no statute that I could find on the topic, but generally speaking, at least 24 hours notice is recommended.

      A landlord is allowed to enter the premise to conduct business. Showcasing it to potential buyers or new renters qualifies as business.

      Tenants do have the right to quiet enjoyment, but that doesn’t mean they can restrict access. An occasional visit by the landlord is acceptable, but a daily visit when the tenant is home is intrusive. Theres no set laws on what is intrusive or not, but it comes down to common sense and the particular situation.

      Good luck! Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Dan Chambers

    I recently bought a 2 bedroom co-op unit in DC that I plan to rent out. I’m not incorporated and it is the only property I own in DC. Do I still need to comply with the One Family Rental License requirements?

    • Lucas Hall

      Yes, DC wants you to get the license, so they can tax you on it.

    • Dan Chambers

      Thanks for the quick response. Seems kind of onerous for a private citizen. Does that mean I have set up an LLC or incorporate?

      • Lucas Hall

        I had a studio in DC and they made me register a sole proprietorship for the “rental business”. Then, I had to apply for the rental license and the property had to be inspected. The links in the article above will take you to DCs website, which actually has some really helpful info to guide private citizens through the process. But in typical DC fashion, there overcomplicated things for the sake of fees and taxes.

  • concerned grandma

    My granddaughter is renting a room in D.C. She has a lease. She was shown the kitchen, given minimum kitchen implements half a shelf to store kitchen items and half a shelf in the refrigerator. Then, after she moved in she was told she couldn’t eat in the kitchen. Just the other day, her landlady told her she couldn’t use the oven because she was cooking too much. Right now she has to eat in the living room. There have been other situations in which the landlady showed my granddaughter the house before she signed the lease and then verbally told my granddaughter some areas were off limits. What are my granddaughter’s rights, what can she do, and, who can help her enforce her rights. This doesn’t sound right.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your question, and sorry for the delay. Your granddaughter only has rights to access parts of the house that she agreed to in the lease. The landlord can’t change the rules after the fact.

      Generally speaking, if the kitchen is considered a common area, then your daughter has the right to be there just as much as anyone else. Further, a landlord must provide adequate cooking systems (like an oven). Without it, the dwelling would be uninhabitable for the renter.

      Anyway, I hope helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. If your daughter was to get some legal help, she should contact a local legal aid provider, or an attorney.

      Good luck to the both of you.

  • JP in DC

    First, thanks for this blog – it’s very helpful compared to a lot of other places.

    Second, you mention having to register as a sole proprietorship in addition to the BBL – is that a requirement? I don’t see a link there unfortunately to do so. Is that the DC Business Tax Form FR-500? If not, to what are you referring and must I also do the FR-500 too? Thanks very much.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi JP

      The BBL is connected to the unit/property that you are renting. You still have to decide what type of entity you want to be. You could do it as a Sole Prop (DBA), or an LLC, or even a corporation. How you structure that business entity is completely up to you. Anything other than a DBA, you should get and EIN from the IRS also.

      When I registered a rental in DC, I believe I filled the 500 and the BBL with the DC tax/business office, and then another form with the housing dept to initiate the inspection. It was a number of years ago, but the DC gov website is up to date and the tax office can help walk you through it. I spent about an hour at the office, and they helped me file everything correctly.

      That’s really all I can say. How you structure the entity is a legal decision, although the DBA is the easiest route which is why I recommended it. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Adam

    I’m going to be renting my townhouse out for the first time this coming summer and am having trouble finding a good source of information around what the DC inspector will be looking for when doing the inspection. Is there a good checklist that you could point me to in order to make sure that my house passes the city’s inspection?

    Thanks!

  • MP

    Do you know what the statute of limitations is for rent collection in DC? I was contacted by a debt collection company claiming I owe unpaid rent for an apartment I moved out of in 2011.

  • Chris

    Thank you for providing this summary and discussion space! We are
    interested in any suggestions, agreement form or suggestions for rooming house
    in Wash. DC. Thanks again!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Chris,

      If you want to rent out individual rooms, I suggest you create separate leases for each room, and treat them as separate units. But it would be easier to manage if you rented out the whole house under one lease, with lots of roommates. Then they are all held responsible for the total rent.

      We don’t provide legal forms, but I can recommend a few great sources for state-specific forms: http://www.landlordology.com/directory/#legal

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • CN

    We moved into our place May 1st, found mold middle of May and contact our landlord to remediation. He dragged his feet but finally had a company come two weeks ago and they had to gut the entire kitchen. We are not without a kitchen and he is telling us it will take four weeks at least to repair! One top of that our AC broke last week and has still not been repaired. What are our rights to break the lease? Ask for discounted rent? Force a quicker turnaround time?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi CN,

      Generally speaking, a landlord must provide a habitable dwelling. That usually includes a working kitchen unless otherwise agreed to in the lease. If the landlord isn’t living up to the terms of the lease, then you could attempt to break the agreement. However, if the landlord fights you on it, then you might need to hire a lawyer. Alternatively, the landlord could put you up in a similar dwelling while the repairs are made.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Zachary Adams

    Good afternoon,

    I have a quick question for you. I came home to my apartment this afternoon to find a repair man inside my doorway tearing up my floor. I had no knowledge of such a repair and was not told this would be taking place. I immediately reported it to the onsite manager and told him to make a note of it. I also took pictures as well. Since I did not authorize consent and was not given a notice within a 24-hour time frame, is this terms for legally terminating my lease?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Zachary,

      Why was the person ripping up the floor? If it was an emergency, usually no notice is needed. Also, to the best of my research, I couldn’t find a statute that requires 24 hours notice (although that is generally the standard).

      I suggest doing some more research in the statutes (linked above) to see if they actually broke the law. Then you might be able to break the lease, but you also might need help from a lawyer if it was only a one-time occurrence.

      Good luck to you. I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • LG

    There is a clause in a lease of an apartment I’m considering that states that after the lease expires, it will not go month-to-month and staying in the apartment after the lease term ends without signing a new lease results in double per diem rent. I can’t think of any rent control exemptions this apartment would qualify for. Is this term in the lease enforceable?

  • Peter Gregory

    Can you tell me if a Washing DC Landlord can deny accepting a corporate check issued to pay the rent on my appartment. By way of background the first 7 months were paid by with a corp check, and then I paid the following 5 months with a personal check. The management company is now saying they can’t accept a check from a non-lease holder. They say I have an excellent payment history and that I must immediately pick up the corporate check and replace it with a money order or personal check within 24 hours. Is this permissible. There is nothing in my lease that addresses this. Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Peter,

      Generally speaking, rent must be paid in the manor that it is specified in the lease. If “corporate check” isn’t one of the options, then a landlord could deny it. But the fact that you paid previously with a corp check does set a precedence, however, a landlord unless your lease permits you to do so, then I suppose they could deny it now.

      Generally, it’s an industry best practice to never accept money from a non-lessee – simply because they don’t have a contract with that third party.

      Though I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, I suggest you honor their request.

  • fresh courage

    Hi I own my house and it’s getting too big for me. I am thinking of asking a friend to become my roommate. She and I would have separate bedrooms and bathrooms and share the rest of the house. We would share utilities and will determine a payment for the rooms usage. Would I need any licenses? Thank you.

  • Tamike

    I live in a rental town home. Owned by a private renter.

    Tonight she hand delivered a lether stating she has been displaced and needs to reoccupy the property her self and I have 30 days to vacate.

    This caught me by surprise, rapid rehousing pays my rent, I pay only 40% after I mentioned my stove was not functioning for 30 days to my worker and a slightly heated argument.

    What rights do I have. I just enrolled my children into school and were just getting settled in this is not fair

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi

      What kind of lease do you have? Is it a fixed-term lease or a month-to-month?

      • Tamike

        1 year lease starting end of July 2015

        • Lucas Hall

          Then I really doubt the landlord would be able to terminate your lease early for this. A contract is a contract and can’t be broken unless there is a clause in your lease which permits this situation. I suggest reading through the “DC tenant’s bill of rights” linked in the article above and contacting their office if you need further help. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • JULIECANDREWS

    I am renting a home month 16 of a 24 month lease. The owner has never registered the rental with DCRA or gotten a business license. They have also never secured a property manager which is something I specifically wrote into the lease (they live abroad).
    We are in the process of buying a house and want to leave the rental. Can a lease never satisfied be considered void.. what are some options here.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Julie,

      That would be a better question for a lawyer – since it’s dealing with contract law – rather than landlord-tenant law.

      If the lease has a “severability” clause in it, the voiding of one section doesn’t void the whole contract.

      The obvious option is to have an honest conversation with the landlord about getting approval to terminate the lease. Instead of trying to find a loop-hole, you might consider offering to find a replacement tenant who will sign a new lease in your place. If you make it easy for the landlord to say “Yes”, hopefully he will.

      With that said, you could always try to report him to DCRA, but then you’ll just anger him and there might be additional issues that arise from it.

      Good luck!

  • AR

    First off thank you for your efforts here. I am having some problems with the condo I rent via a Property Management company. When we signed our lease we had a list of things we wanted done to the apartment it’s been 3 months now and only a small portion of the work has been completed and some of done myself. One of our biggest complaints has been the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom, neither work, they have sent out a repair guy to “fix” them but he keeps telling them they need replacement, that requires ripping out the ceiling and the owner does not want to pay for that, we just found out he does not have a BBL, we just want out of our lease (60 day notice), we gave the management company that option, or face the DCRA, opinion?

    To be clear, the letter we sent to the management company was in no way a threat, just that we were unhappy with the apartment and the way it/we have been handled/ treated and we would like a dissolution of our lease with 60 days notice. The owner has been renting this unit since 1998 without ever getting it licensed or inspected, and we have been told by an employee of the management company getting him to spend a dime on this unit is like pulling teeth. Our goal isn’t a witch hunt towards the owner, our hope is that he would rather part ways than deal with all the legal fees and the work that will have to be done after a DCRA inspection. For the record he lives out of State, our only correspondence is via the Property Management.

    In your advice to Julie about reporting an unlicensed landlord to the DCRA, you said..

    “With that said, you could always try to report him to DCRA, but then you’ll just anger him and there might be additional issues that arise from it.”

    What could arise from it if we don’t play to stay after a year anyway? I’ve been told retaliatory measures by landlords are VERY frowned upon in DC.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi AR,

      You might find yourself on the other end of rent increases, or even a lack of renewal options (which wouldn’t be a problem for you). While it’s not okay for a landlord to retaliate because you reported them, that certainly hasn’t stopped landlords in the past. Those that don’t repair appliances or those who don’t get licenses in the first place certainly don’t care about following the rules. Doing so might make you life harder, that’s all I’m saying.

      If you want out of your lease, it might be tough, because a broken fan usually not an issue of habitability. Yes, its an inconvenience, but not a habitability issue. My suggestion would be to play this peacefully (although your letter was threatening even if you didn’t mean it to be), and offer to find a replacement tenant if they agree to let you out of the lease.

      Good luck. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • mary Kyriakoudis

    I have a single family house with an in-law suite in a single family zone in dc, can I rent to a group of students (4 BRs – 4 students) and do individual leases?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mary,

      You’d have to do some research to see if you need a dual certificate of occupancy. But when you apply for the DC license, I’m sure they will let you know.

      You can certainly rent out the individual bedrooms on different leases, but I only suggest that if you live in the property too – in the same living area. If you are not a live-in landlord, then I think it’s better to have the whole house (or unit) under a single lease. I think it’s best to find a group of friends who want to rent it as a whole, and let them work out the bedroom details among themselves.

      I hope that helps. This is just my two cents. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. It’s just my two cents.

  • ZB.

    A DC landlord (apt management company) has filed a case with the court and eviction notice on October 11th against me due to their mistake when they thought I had’t paid the rent for October . Which I had paid on Sept 28th, and the check was cashed by them on Oct 5th.

    First and foremost – I have paid the rent duly and timely.

    Secondly – what are my rights in this situation when the Landlord has (1) filed against me by mistake, and (2) violated the rules by filing on 11th day of the month, instead of at expiration of the 30 day notice.

    What upsets me the most is the negative records that their mistake would cost me with the court and credit bureaus.

    What are my rights here?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi ZB,

      For your legal rights, you’ll need to review the statutes listed above, or talk to a lawyer (that’s what they do :)

      If the accusation is false, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you go to the eviction hearing, just produce a copy of the check that they cashed to show that you indeed paid rent. It’s really that easy.

      If they cause further harm, such as damaging your credit, then you could sue them for further damages.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

      • ZB.

        Thank you for responding. I’ve proven the staff who did wrong his fault and he was very unhappy about it. I’ve located information last night where it states that in the case of violation of the lease agreement (which I assume the late rent payment falls into), a landlord can file with the court after 30 days. I’ve printed it out and took to show him (he filed on 11th day) and was treated in a very rude manner and basically brushed off to leave his office. Sorry for the rant. I am just so upset with that guy.

  • JCc

    Can a condo board assess fines for not having a copy of a key to access a condo? Can a condo board assess fines to investor owned condos?

    • Lucas Hall

      Sure, if it’s a requirement in the rules or bylaws. Condo boards have a lot of power. All owners, investor or not, have to follow the rules which usually also mean that the board or a PM has a key to access the unit in the case of repairs and emergencies.

  • TG

    I currently lease 1 of 2 units in a privately owned home. the original 12 month lease for my one bedroom unit and 1 assigned parking space was signed in 2011 and has continued on a month to month basis since 2012 On October 29th my landlord notified my via text message that my parking space was scheduled to be sold to the owner of the home next door on November 13th. Therefore my car must be moved by close of business on November 12th and no other space would be provided. My questions are: A. Is this legal? B. Do I have any recourse? C. is this considered a reduction of services that can be assessed a $ amount and deducted from the monthly rent to off set the cost of a leasing a parking space elsewhere?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi TG,

      The blessing and a curse of a month-to-month lease is that either party can terminate it with little notice. Further, the landlord can modify it with the same short notice. Usually, this means rent increases, but it can also refer to assets in the lease, like parking and storage.

      For the legality of it, you’d have to talk to a lawyer – that’s what they do.

      It would be considered a reduction of services, but because you are a monthly tenant, you have no guarantee or right for things are going to stay the same. Even if you demanded a reduction of rent for the loss of parking, it would be perfectly acceptable for a landlord to reduce it as compensation, and then the very next month, raise your rent back to the normal price. That’s just how M2M leases are built – and the main reason why most people sign fixed leases – for the added security.

      Good luck. Please talk to a lawyer if you want to fight this – which I am not.

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