On October 14, 2020 a new law is set to go into effect further restricting landlords’ from preventing harm to tenants and buildings. The law does two things: prohibits a housing provider from issuing a notice to vacate to a tenant; and use any alternative means, such as decreasing services, to constructively evict a tenant. Notably, the second piece is redundant, as constructive eviction has been illegal for decades.
The Department of Health recently closed a Georgetown hookah bar, which has sparked questions from restaurant owners if offering hookah during Phase II reopening is legal? Clearly, DOH takes the position that it is not.
While the eviction moratorium and rent freeze get all of the attention, housing providers have additional obligations under the Coronavirus laws. Recently, DCRA published an emergency rulemaking which sets out in detail certain cleaning requirements for landlords.
On June 8, 2020, the DC Council adopted the latest amendments to the emergency Coronavirus law. However, the amendments did not actually go into effect until July 17, 2020. The changes impact landlord obligations to tenants as outlined below.
In New York and Texas landlords have filed federal lawsuits, claiming that laws denying them access to the courts to pursue evictions violate their constitutional property and contractual rights.
On June 19, 2020 the Mayor issued the formal order moving DC into Phase II of reopening. Shortly thereafter, the ABC Board published its Emergency Rulemaking, implementing the order to restaurants.
The latest guidance on DC’s Phase I re-opening came out on Friday, as a joint-effort from the Mayor, DDOT and DOH. The publication specifically addresses outdoor seating on public space, but, also provides clarity for other outdoor operations. Any establishment with outdoor dining should review the complete guide.
On May 19, 2020, the DC Council further specified landlords’ obligations to offer payment plans under the Coronavirus Support Emergency Act. Two weeks ago the Council approved a law requiring, among other things, that certain landlords enter into payment plans with tenants’ whose ability to pay rent has been impacted by the public health emergency. However, the original law was vague as to specific rights and obligations. This week the Council approved new legislation to clarify several aspects of the law.
The DC Council’s third emergency Coronavirus law requires landlords to give payment plans for missed rent payments during the public health emergency and for a year thereafter. While the law is fairly clear about who it applies to it contains few details about the required contents of a payment plan. Notwithstanding the gaping holes in this legislation, here are the details that we have now.
Recently, the government has made COVID-19 assistance for hospitality businesses a priority. We have updated our earlier guide with the most recent legal information available. If you own a bar or restaurant and have any questions, I will be glad to consult with you free of charge.