DC Adds New Eviction Restrictions In October

In Litigation, Real Estate by Richard Bianco

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.

The new October 7, 2021 law imposes two additional obligations on owners before an eviction can actually be carried out. This law is in effect now and applies to all evictions scheduled after October 8, 2021.

New Disclosure Requirements

The first change requires owners to add additional language to the 30 day (or in some cases 21 day) notice of eviction. Specifically, owners must state the total amount of outstanding rent and distinguish how much came due prior to March 12, 2020 and how much after. The notice must also contain information about the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERAP) and STAY DC programs.

Further Delay Of Evictions For Tenants To Get Assistance

Second, the new law requires the owner to contact the Department of Human Services 2-5 days prior to the scheduled eviction and determine whether an ERAP or STAY application is pending. If there is such an application the owner must notify the Court and reschedule the eviction with the US Marshals for a date at least 3 weeks from the current eviction date.

In Summary...

The Council’s stated purpose for the eviction moratoria was to protect tenants from displacement who were economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the law went far beyond that, banning all evictions, even those bearing no relationship to pandemic based financial hardships. Consequently, owners have, in many cases been prevented from moving back into their own homes and from removing trespassers from their property.That remains the case today. Even the few evictions now trickling through are hampered by increasingly complex technical and notice requirements. They are further delayed by hyper-aggressive, frequently meritless filings from legal services providers with respect to those procedural technicalities. In this context, meticulous compliance is an absolute necessity.

If you have questions about your obligations as an owner, we invite you to contact us or use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment.