View Post

No Building Permits for “Slumlords”

In Legislation, Real Estate by Richard Bianco

The local media, government officials (usually when seeking re-election), housing advocates and the legal services community throw around the amorphous term “slumlord” to describe a landlord that treats tenants badly by failing or refusing to make needed repairs to a rental unit. The point at which a landlord crosses over into ‘slumlord’ territory was anybody’s guess, until now. On November 7 the D.C. Council has proposed an official definition of “slumlord.” (in a sense). The “Slumlord Deterrence Amendment Act of 2017” imposes harsh sanctions on people that own an interest in a rental property which amasses more than five (5) Class 1 violations in a year. Specifically, the slumlord in question may be denied a Basic Business License (including renewal) or Building Permit, of any kind, for a year after all of the Class 1 Violations are cured. Alright, I admit, it’s not a statutory definition in the sense that it says “A Slumlord shall be defined as….” However, it is an implicit definition, and a bright line between the slumlord and the non-slumlord, at least in the eyes of the City Council.

View Post

What Happens When Your “Section 8” Tenant Moves Out

In Legislation, Real Estate by Richard Bianco

On November 7, 2017, Council members Bonds and Nadeau introduced legislation to limit the rent that a landlord may charge for a unit after termination of a Federal or District subsidy. The Rental Housing Affordability Re-establishment Act of 2017 essentially provides, that upon termination of a tenant subsidy, a landlord may only charge a tenant the rent charged for that unit prior to the subsidy, plus, an increase of “general applicability” for each year that the subsidy based exemption was in place.

View Post

Dining with Dogs

In Hospitality, Legislation, Real Estate by Richard Bianco

It is now legal for restaurant owners to allow patrons to bring pets into the outdoor seating areas provided certain conditions are met. Personally, I had no idea that allowing dogs in outdoor seating areas of restaurants was illegal. I have seen this, for years, all over the city, and frankly, thought nothing of it. I have never come across or even heard of an establishment receiving a violation for allowing dogs in outdoor areas. Apparently, during the summer months, the Department of Heath, cracked down on such conduct, issuing a slew of enforcement notices to restaurants with outdoor seating.

View Post

Rent Concessions To Be Outlawed

In Legislation, Real Estate by Richard Bianco

On September 9 Councilmember Cheh proposed an amendment to the Rent Stabilization provisions of the Rental Housing Act. That is just a complicated way of saying that the Councilmember is seeking to change the “Rent Control” Law to make it more difficult for landlords to raise the rent.