D.C. Pushes Eviction Moratorium to the Limit in New Exit Law
August 9, 2021
Updated August 12, 2021
2 minutes

On July 13, the Council for the District of Columbia (D.C.) passed new robust protections for renters experiencing or at risk of experiencing housing displacement.

Bill sponsor Phil Mendelson, Chairman of the D.C. Council, described the bill as a “soft-landing” for renters emerging from the pandemic. Once signed by Mayor Bowser, rental housing operators may resume sending notices of overdue rent to residents. This comes with the caveat that filings for cases of nonpayment may begin on October 12 and only if the housing provider has applied for emergency rental assistance (ERA) on behalf of the resident and provided a 60-day notice, or if the resident has failed to respond to the application or been denied ERA. If a resident is denied ERA funds, housing providers are obligated to initiate a payment plan with the resident within 14 days of the application denial.

D.C. rental housing providers, who have operated under a moratorium for nearly all types of eviction cases since March 2020, may resume sending notices for breach of lease beginning on September 26. However, filings for these cases will remain unlawful until January 1, 2022. In addition, housing providers are prohibited from initiating eviction actions in cases of nonpayment where overdue rent totals no more than $600. Furthermore, the bill will extend the District’s rent freezes until January 1, 2022.

While we agreed in principle with establishing a phased approach to lifting the District’s eviction moratorium, the bill that ultimately passed adds new hurdles to the process, is too drawn out, and prohibits our members from accessing landlord-tenant court to address lease violations until at least the turn of the year when weather restrictions will further delay the process”, says Alex Rossello, Director of Policy Communications for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA).

D.C. is the latest to join a list of jurisdictions seeking a phased approach to ending their eviction moratorium. In June, Minnesota and New Jersey passed similar legislation that would resume evictions over a period of time and give housing providers date certainty for moratorium termination. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has yet to sign this legislation.

For more information on state and local eviction moratorium, please contact Sam Gilboard, NAA’s Manager of Public Policy.