Our Forest Hills neighborhood includes 15 rent-controlled apartment buildings with over 3,000 units.
Each February the DC Rental Housing Commission releases its “Consumer Price Index for Workers” (CPI-W), which is used to calculate the annual rent increase for these buildings. The 2013 CPI-W is 2.2 percent, effective May 1st, and it’s in effect through April 30th, 2014. This already represents a break for rent-controlled tenants: 2012’s CPI-W was 3.6 percent. (For a history of the CPI-W from 1981-2012, download this PDF file.)
What this means is that the 2013 rent increase for most tenants will be 4.2 percent (the formula is CPI-W of 2.2 percent plus 2 percent). But for those of us aged 62 or older or those of us with a disability (no age requirement), our 2013 rent increase is the CPI-W of 2.2 percent.
Why? Because of an often little known provision of the rent control law which gives “qualified” tenants the legal right to apply to receive lower annual rent increases.
Do you qualify?
You qualify if you signed the lease and can meet either the age or the disabled test. Both tests include tenants at all income levels.
How To Apply
Qualified tenants who meet the age or disabled test must file the application form before their next annual rent increase. The application form is filed only once and there are no fees.
Why you should apply
On December 11, 2009, with help from the Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA), my husband and I filed our application. This July, after three years of lower annual rent increases, we will have saved a total of $1,032 in rent payments.
Contact the DC Office of the OTA for more information or help completing the application form. The OTA also offers free registration clinics throughout the year.
Talk to Your Tenant Advocate: Phone: 202-719-6560
On the Web: www.ota.dc.gov, OTA Live Q&A Chat, Ask the Director
Meet With Staff: Reeves Center at 2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 300 N
Walk-Ins; M/W: 8:45-3:30 pm, T/Thur: 8:45-4:45 pm
Fri: 1-3pm Other times by appointment