by Barbara Cline
March is one of my favorite months. It’s the end of winter, the beginning of spring… and when I know how much my rent increase will be for my rent-controlled apartment.
And the 2019 rent increase for rent-controlled buildings is…
Our annual rent control increase is based on the lower of:
- the Social Security Cost of Living (SS COLA) or
- the Consumer Price Index-Urban Workers (CPI-W).
For 2019 – the CPI-W is 2.3%, which is lower than the SS COLA’s 2.8%.
There are two levels of rent control increases:
- 2.3% (Only CPI-W): For renters aged 62-plus or disabled (any age as long as you signed the lease). However, you must have filed the free application form linked here with the DC Rent Administrator 30 days before your next rent increase date. There are no income requirements to receive this reduced rent increase. And the form is short – three pages. It needs to filed only once, and there are no application fees.
- 4.3% (CPI-W + 2%): For all other renters.
The rent increase may be applied during any month between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020 – and only once during this 12-month period.
The 2019 2.3% base rate has been creeping upward, from 1.1% in 2017 and 1.4% in 2018. Here is a history of DC rent control rates back to 1985.
For a detailed discussion of DC renter rights, including an overview of DC rent control, go to the Coalition for Non-Profit Housing website’s online copy of the 2013 Washington DC Tenant Survival Guide, Eighth Edition (visit cnhed.org/policy-advocacy/research, scroll down to “Additional Research Information”).
OTA – DC’s renter’s agency
DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) is DC’s renter’s agency. OTA helps all DC renters – whether you rent a rent-controlled or non-rent controlled apartment, or are renting a condominium, co-op or room(s) in a house. See ota.dc.gov for OTA services and resources.
The summit – videos now available
OTA holds a renters summit each September. Now in its 12th year, this free, city-wide day-long event features workshops and legal clinics to teach you your renter rights. The 2018 summit videos, including DC Renter Rights 101, are now available. You can learn your rights in the comfort of your home.
Contact Stephen Dudek, OTA’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com to get on e-mail lists for notices on the 2019 summit, legislative updates and stakeholder meetings.
Barbara Cline has been living the DC high-rise life for decades. And since Forest Hills Connection’s beginnings in 2012, she’s been keeping tabs on annual rent increases and much, much more.