Important D.C. Landlord - Tenant Laws 

Landlord has options with abandonment in D.C.

In D.C. the landlord has some leeway when it comes to abandonment.  Unlike most states, the D.C. landlord can choose to not accept the abandonment and not re-let the premises, thus holding the tenant liable for the remainder of the lease term.

D.C. Lien on personal property

D.C. landlords have the right to take lien on the tenant's personal property, which extends out three months past the lease end date.  This provision in the law also creates an easier path to dealing with abandoned personal property at the end of a lease term when the tenant moves out.

Raising the rent amount in D.C.

Whether and how rent can be raised depends on if the property is a rent stabilized property.  Rent can be raised on exempt properties, but only once every 12 month period.  Rent stabilized properties allow the landlord some options to raise rent, but of course those conditions depend on the reason, and per the regulations set forth by the District's rent stabilization program.  Landlords with rent control properties are advised to educate themselves on the ins and outs of the program.

D.C. Constraints on eviction scheduling

Washington D.C. is unusual in that the weather forecast is critical to carrying out an eviction.  An eviction cannot be scheduled for a day when the 24 hour forecast calls for a 50% or greater chance of precipitation OR if the forecast calls for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 24 hours. You also cannot schedule an eviction for a weekend, holiday. or judicial training day.

D.C Evictions executed by the U.S. Marshals Service

The U.S. Marshals Service is the law enforcement on site for the execution of the eviction, but the landlord has to provide all supplies and equipment necessary to empty the property of the tenant's possessions, pay for required manpower, and pay an hourly rate for the services of the U.S. Marshals.  

Know what constitutes a retaliatory action in D.C.

Landlords in D.C. should familiarize themselves with examples of retaliatory actions against tenants.  One such action is refusing to renew the lease agreement after the term ends.  Unless a tenant voluntarily moves out of the rental at the end of the Agreement Term or the landlord has a cause for action against the tenant, the tenant cannot be evicted or asked to move out for the sole reason that the Agreement Term has ended; provided that they continue to pay rent.

Retaliatory actions presumed in D.C.

Landlords are presumed guilty of retaliatory actions unless they provide clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and so long as the tenant took one of several allowable actions in the past six months regarding their tenancy, such as giving proper notice about the need for repairs, contacting housing authorities about violations, or bringing legal action against the landlord.

Security deposit inspection to determine damages in D.C.

In order to determine the amount of the security deposit or other payment to be returned the landlord must first inspect the premises within three days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, before or after the termination of the tenancy. The inspection must be at a time and date that is communicated at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled inspection date.

Interest due for holding security deposit in D.C.

Interest is required to be paid on security deposits for tenancies 12 months or longer, and an escrow account is required.  Landlords have 45 days to return the deposit and any interest, minus any charges for damage.  However, you get another 30 days if there were damages recorded beyond normal wear and tear.