Rent control is one of the city’s longest-established and most significant policies for maintaining affordable housing in the city. Our Forest Hills high-rise community contains over a dozen apartment buildings that fall into this category.
Ward 3 has the second-largest number of units which are “potentially subject to rent control,” according to a May 2011 study, “A Rent Control Report for the District of Columbia” (PDF file). The report was prepared for Neighborhood Info DC.
The word “potentially” is used because it is not possible at this time to construct a definitive list of rent controlled properties from current electronic records alone.
DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) has given us permission to republish its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) handout on rent control:
What is rent control?
A program that limits the amount and frequency of a rent increase.
How do I know if the unit is under rent control?
Under the Rental Housing Act of 1985, the landlord is required to provide any rental applicant with a disclosure form that says if the unit is under rent control or exempt from rent control. Buildings constructed prior to 1976 are typically under rent control. There are exceptions. You may call the OTA at (202) 719-6560 to inquire about a specific building.
How often can my landlord raise my rent?
If Under Rent Control: landlord may not raise the rent unless a full 12 months has passed since any prior rent increase.
If Not Under Rent Control: landlord may raise the rent as often as he or she likes, provided there is no lease provision limiting the frequency of rent increases.
By how much can the landlord raise my rent?
If Under Rent Control: landlord may raise rent by no more than the annual CPI% + 2% (unless tenant is elderly or disabled; in that case landlord may raise rent by no more than CPI%). The landlord may also file a housing provider petition with RAD to request approval of a larger rent increase. (Annual CPI% can be viewed at www.ota.dc.gov)
If Not Under Rent Control: landlord may raise the rent by as much as he or she likes, provided there is no lease provision limiting the frequency of rent increases.
For more information, visit the Office of the Tenant Advocate’s web site, call (202) 719-6560 or visit them at 2000 14th St, NW Ste 300N Washington, DC 20009.