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COVID-19 Information for the District of Columbia

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

Local Affiliate

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

District Legal and Regulatory Information

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

The District of Columbia is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening plans. Specific guidance for workplace safety on construction sites is provided by the Government of Washington D.C. 

Face Mask Mandate

Mayor Bowser has ordered any person must wear a mask in the common areas of apartments, condominiums and cooperative. Buildings, office buildings, and other cooperatives must post signage stating that individuals must wear a mask to enter. In addition, employers must provider masks to employees. Individuals must also wear masks in all public outdoor spaces. 

State of Emergency

Mayor Muriel Bowser declared both a state of emergency and public health emergency on March 11, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Evictions Suspended During the Public Health Emergency

COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (§ 308)

  • Action: Revises the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980. Prevents evictions during such a declaration.
  • Scope: All lease violations.
  • Duration: Until the Public Health Emergency is lifted.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.
  • Additional Commentary: It is important to note that this is a statutory change and therefore is permanent. For the duration of a Declaration of Public Emergency, no DC residents may be evicted. 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The District of Columbia has an existing program, The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), that helps income-eligible Washington, DC residents facing housing emergencies.

The amount paid on behalf of eligible families depends on a household’s income and available resources and is subject to certain limitations. ERAP payments can only be used once per year for each eligible household.

Rent Freeze

On April 7, 2020, the City Council passed the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, an updated version of the original bill passed on March 17, 2020. The supplemental version freezes rents across the district for all rental housing, not just for those covered under the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance. The act also requires mortgage companies to offer payment deferrals of up to 90 days.  

Price-Gouging Law

Under DC Code, § 28.4101, it is unlawful to sell goods or services to individuals in an area declared under emergency, at a price more than 10 percent the average price of that good or service 90 days prior to the emergency declaration. Rental housing or shelter are not defined as covered services under this statutory language.