Collecting rent is the best part about being a landlord! Having a solid tenant who pays on time, all of the time, makes a tenancy easier on both the landlord and the tenant. Rent will typically be due on the first business day of the month, and while D.C. law does not specify the number of days before rent is considered late, most landlords use a five day rule for late payments. There is no limit on late payment fees in D.C. but it is advisable to indicate the late payment fee in the written lease agreement so that the tenant is aware of the fee and its amount. A written receipt is required if the tenant pays other than with a check. The receipt must include the amount, date, and purpose of the payment (e.g. rent, late fee, NSF fee).

Rent changes

The landlord’s ability to change the rent amount depends on if the rental unit is exempt from the District of Columbia Rent Stabilization Program.

Exempt Properties: The landlord may not change the rental amount during the term of the agreement. For a tenancy after the agreement term ends a landlord can change the amount by providing written notice to the tenant 30 days prior to the end of the agreement term. If the tenant becomes a holdover or month-to-month tenant, the landlord is allowed to change the rent amount or other terms of the agreement by providing 30 days’ written notice. In all cases, the landlord may not increase the rent amount until a full 12 months have elapsed since any prior increase.

Properties Subject to the Rent Stabilization Program: Per D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 14, § 4200.8, an increase in the rental amount shall be authorized only by an increase in the rent ceiling taken and perfected pursuant to D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 14, § 4204 and under the following conditions:

  • At the election of Landlord, pursuant to D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 14, §§ 4206 and 4207.
  • Under an order of the Rent Administrator issued pursuant to D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 14, §§ 4209, 4210, 4211 or 4212.
  • Under a voluntary agreement approved by the Rent Administrator pursuant to D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 14, § 4213.
  • Under any prior rent control law and the regulations, if any, promulgated under that prior law.