by Barbara Cline
Did you know that DC renters have the right to request relocation assistance from their landlord if they are displaced by a substantial rehabilitation of their unit?
In 2009, a renter in the Connecticut House was undergoing cancer treatments that resulted in a compromised immune system. When mold was discovered behind a wall in her apartment, she requested and received relocation assistance from management for a move to temporary living quarters while the mold was removed.
The Bill of Rights is a compilation of some of the numerous laws protecting DC renters who are leasing a residential rental unit – whether it is an apartment, condo, co-op or room(s) in a private home.
Security deposits, building conditions, leases, quiet enjoyment, disclosure of information, eviction and relocation assistance are all addressed in the Bill of Rights.
Most of the rights apply to all DC renters. However, some of the rights are restricted to certain types of renters, such as those who live in rent-controlled apartments.
How to get a copy of the Bill of Rights
Effective July 2015, Law 20-147, Tenant Bill of Rights Amendment Act of 2014, requires all DC housing providers to give a copy of the Bill of Rights to any rental applicant of a residential unit.
Although housing providers are not required to give their current renters a copy of the Bill of Rights, these renters can find the Bill of Rights on the DC Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) website in seven languages: Amharic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. They are all available for download here
DC renters can also pick up or request a mailed copy of the Bill of Rights from OTA’s office in the Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street, Suite 300 North, Washington, DC 20009, 202-719-6560.
Want to learn more about your rights as a renter? The Office of the Tenant Advocate is hosting the 8th Annual Tenant and Tenant Association Summit on Saturday, September 26th. It’s being held at Gallaudet University’s Kellogg Conference Center (800 Florida Avenue, NE) from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free and lunch is provided. Register here.
This is an updated version of a piece that originally ran February 2013.