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.
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.
Shelter in Place
Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020, a “Shelter in Place” order is currently in effect for the District of Columbia until Friday, May 15, 2020. Per Mayor’s Order 2020-053, Housing and Living Facilities, which includes residential facilities, are exempt from non-essential business restrictions. Any Essential Business or Government Building or Facility that remains open to the public with an expected occupancy or attendance of more than ten (10) people shall promptly and conspicuously post in the building or facility a copy of the requirements for social distancing found on the coronavirus.dc.gov website as may be amended from time to time by the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health).
Effective Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-066 to extend the District’s public emergency and public health emergency and continue to require individuals to stay home through Monday, June 8, 2020. The Mayor’s Order can be found here.
The District of Columbia will begin Phase One of reopening on Friday, May 29, 2020. Individuals must continue to practice social distancing from persons not in their household.
State of Emergency
Mayor Muriel Bowser declared both a state of emergency and public health emergency on March 11, 2020.
- 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.
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.
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.