Guidance on the new COVID-19 law for DC landlords
The COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency law. provides mortgage deferment, rent freezes, stops notices to vacate and protects consumers from certain debt collection activities. Obviously, the law was hastily drafted and it is not completely clear how it will be applied. This post will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Mortgage deferment under the COIVD-19 law for DC Landlords
Both residential and commercial borrowers may be entitled to a 90 day deferment, with 18 months to repay, interest free. However, this only applies to banks and lenders subject to the jurisdiction of the DC Department of Insurance Securities and Banking (DISB). It does not include banks and lenders chartered under laws of the United States. (Most banks are federally chartered.) Nonetheless, you should contact your lender and ask whether the law applies to your loan. It is important to note that landlords who receive a deferment must likewise defer the tenant’s rent.
Other tenant protections
Rent increases are frozen for all tenants (commercial and residential) from the start of the public health emergency until 30 days after it ends. This includes both rent increases set to take effect and notices served during the public health emergency. .
All notices of intent to vacate provided by the tenant shall be tolled until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency. That means if a tenant sends a 30 day notice of intent to vacate today, it will not expire until 60 days after the crisis ends.
Finally, all time periods under 14 DCMR 3800 through 4399 are tolled. Included among these regulations are notices to correct or vacate / quit / termination. So, in the event of a lease violation, the tenant will be given thirty (30) additional days to cure or quit after the public health emergency ends.
The law now defines debt to include money owed as a result of lease of real property. Debt collectors are prohibited from initiating, filing or threatening to file any new collection lawsuit. At this point, it is not clear whether lawyers or property managers are allowed to issue nonpayment notices or file lawsuits against nonpaying tenants. It is my hope that in the coming weeks the obligations of landlord representatives under the new law is clarified.
We are in an unprecedented situation and the law is changing quickly. It is important that you get the most up-to-date information snd conform your practices accordingly. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out, or book an appointment online.