Evictions scheduled pre-pandemic, more than 18 months ago, recently began to crawl forward amidst heavy court challenges by legal service providers. In an earlier post, I laid out the relevant dates and requirements to resume evictions. In October, the Council passed a new law adding additional hoops owners have to jump through to recover their property.
DC has one of, if not the strictest, eviction moratoria in the country. The Council’s so-called “off-ramp” is a series of expiration dates when different aspects of the eviction protections come to an end. Below is a summary of the relevant dates and details on what actions landlords may take.
Evictions and case filings in DC are resuming gradually after a 19-month ban. The Council has complicated the process with new requirements, many of which are identified here. We understand that landlords may have additional questions and are glad to help navigate the process.
A new law making it tougher for landlords to evict tenants took effect on November 9, 2020. Among the tenant protections in the Fairness in Renting Emergency Amendment Act, is a requirement that landlords have a current housing basic business license in order to access the courts and file an eviction case. This is a change from the Superior Court’s existing precedent, which allowed even unlicensed owners to pursue eviction.
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.
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 July 23, 2020, D.C. filed 8 Source Of Income Discrimination cases against landlords. A growing number of jurisdictions have Source Of Income Discrimination Laws.
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 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.