So why don’t I move from my amenity-poor 1958 high-rise and join the party?
Because high-rises built in DC after 1975 have no rent control.
The additional rental costs for those amenities are not worth more to me than the peace of mind I derive from having the protection of the DC rent-control law that limits the frequency and amount of my rent increases.
With a few exceptions, the law limits a landlord to only one rent increase per year to keep pace with inflation. The increase in rent charged is based on the annual increase in the CPI-W, a measure of the average change in prices for wage earners in urban areas, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As I explained here, the 2014 CPI-W is 1.4%. Therefore, the 2014 rent increases for rent-controlled units are:
- 1.4% (CPI-W rate only) for tenants aged 62 and up, and disabled renters of any age. To qualify for this permanent lower annual rent increase, file a FREE one-time application. (For more information on the application process, see my article on “The Perks of Being Rent-Controlled.”)
- 3.4% (CPI-W + 2%) for other renters
The DC Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) has compiled a rent-control CPI-W history going back to 1985. You’ll find it here. From 2009-2014, the average annual rent increase for a rent-controlled unit has been:
- 1.89% for elderly or disabled renters
- 3.89% for all other tenants.
Want to learn more about the DC rent-control law? The Washington DC Tenant Survival Guide has a comprehensive description of the law including:
• Required disclosures to renters
• Other allowable rent increases
• How to challenge a rent increase
• Protection for elderly or disabled renters
I use my Survival Guide whenever I need a quick and easy-to-follow review of my legal rights – from security deposits, leases, and repairs to filing a tenant petition and the mediation process. And yes, it covers rent control.
The Survival Guide includes a resource guide of DC government regulatory agencies, housing inspectors, and legal service organizations. All DC renters will find the Survival Guide helpful – whether leasing a rent-controlled or non-rent-controlled apartment, condo, co-op or room(s) in a private home.
The 2006 Survival Guide is available for download at OTA’s web site. You can get hard copies of the 2013 guide from the Georgetown University Law Center’s Harrison Institute for Housing and Urban Development, at 111 F Street NW, Suite 102.
The guide is also available in Spanish. You’ll find copies at the Latino Economic Development Center in Adams Morgan (2316 18th Street NW Washington, DC 20009). And if you have any difficulties with your landlord, the center’s Philip Kennedy is a good person to know. As LEDC’s bilingual tenant organizer, he’s helped DC renters fight for their right to safe, affordable housing.
Do you have a story about your rent increase experiences in DC? Please share them with us, and your fellow DC renters.