DC Council Imposes Additional Restrictions on Residential Landlords during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The DC Council has prohibited rent increases on residential tenants during the COVID-19 public health emergency, regardless of whether or not a rental accommodation is subject to rent control requirements.

The measure, taken on April 7, 2020, expands on the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, passed on March 17, which prohibits the eviction of residential tenants and the charging of late fees to residential tenants during the public health emergency. The Act also prohibits disconnection of electric, gas, and water services, and deems all tenant deadlines occurring under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) to be extended to 30 days following the end of the public health emergency.

In addition, the DC Council delayed several tenant deadlines, including those applicable to tenants and tenant organizations for capital improvement petitions, voluntary agreements, and other forms of relief typically available to residential landlords, as well as the deadline for tenants to comply with notices to vacate.

These protections are in addition to the 120-day prohibitions on (a) evicting or initiating the eviction of a tenant for non-payment of rent or (b) imposing late fees, penalties or other charges for the late payment of rent, each of which are applicable to multifamily borrowers for properties with five or more units that are subject to a federally backed mortgage loan under the CARES Act.

Ashley Haun is a real estate attorney who counsels investors and owners on the purchase, sale, financing and leasing of commercial real estate assets in the Washington metropolitan area. For more information, contact her at 301-657-0152 or [email protected].