Emergency law to implement changes to DC eviction procedures

A couple of months ago, I posted that the U.S. Marshals Service announced changes to DC eviction procedures.[here] Broadly speaking the Marshals decided that they would no longer supervise the removal of tenant belongings from a unit, but merely allow the landlord to execute a lock change at eviction.

Oddly, until now, there have been are no laws governing eviction procedures. The Marshals Service developed their own procedure over the past decades and the Courts and Council have acquiesced. However, in light of the Marshals Service change in policy, as many speculated, the Council adopted legislation to address the new eviction procedures.

On July 10, 2018 the DC Council unanimously passed the Eviction Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018.[here] Under the Emergency Law, fourteen (14) days prior to a scheduled eviction, the Landlord must send a notice to the tenant by mail and phone, text or email and by posting at the unit stating the date of the eviction along with other information.

Additionally the notice must inform the tenant that any personal property left in the unit will be deemed abandoned and disposed of within 24 hours of the eviction, unless, the tenant, elects in writing to require the landlord to store the belongings in the unit for seven (7) business days.  If the tenant elects the seven (7) day storage option the landlord must provide the tenant access to the unit for 8 continuous hours to remove the belongings during the seven (7) day period.

It is important to note that the most recent version of the legislation is far less onerous on landlords than the original version which was considered by the Council on June 26, 2018.  The prior version required landlords to photograph the tenant’s personal belongings, transport them to a storage facility, and store them, at the landlord’s expense, for thirty (30) days. The current version is a significant improvement for landlords.

If you are confused about what to do with your eviction case in light of these new procedures, you are not alone. For assistance in navigating the new procedure to ensure you do not take any missteps, contact me or use the scheduling tool on my website to set up a free case evaluation / consultation.

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