Press Release: Councilmember Bonds Reinforces Rent-Control Laws

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Contact: Emmanuel Brantley

ebrantley@dccouncil.us

(202) 741-0918

COUNCILMEMBER BONDS REINFORCES RENT-CONTROL LAWS 

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, October 2, the Council of the District of Columbia convened for the thirtieth legislative meeting of Council Period 22. During the meeting, At-Large Councilmember and Chairperson of the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Anita Bonds introduced the Rent Charged Clarification Amendment Act of 2018 and the Rent Charged Definition Clarification Amendment Act of 2018 to help preserve the more than 80,000 affordable rental units throughout the city.

As introduced, these bills will modify the existing Rental Housing Act of 1985 (“RHA”) to ensure that when a tenant’s concession lease expires, any increased rent will be calculated based upon the rent the tenant was actually paying rather than the “rent ceiling.” “Rent ceilings” have been illegal since 2006 and are rent amounts that some housing providers record on forms submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development and have used this as a means to charge higher rents. These bills also clarify the definition of “rent charged” to mean the amount that a tenant must actually pay to rent a housing unit.

Each year most rent control increases in the District are calculated by multiplying current rent paid by the Consumer Price Index (currently 1.4%) plus 2%. This means that under existing law, a tenant who pays $2,000 for a unit valued at $2,500 per month, would only expect to pay $2,068 in the following year. However, if the housing provider where to calculate the new rent using the “rent ceiling”, they could charge the tenant $2,577. “When this happens, too many tenants are faced with the exasperating decision to either seek new housing accommodations or pay the exorbitant increase,” remarked Councilmember Bonds from the dais.

The Council also revisited the Rental Housing Affordability Re-establishment Amendment Act of 2017, which will re-establish baseline rents for units that are no longer inhabited by tenants receiving a rent subsidy, and the Rental Housing Commission Independence Clarification Amendment Act of 2017, which clarifies that the Commission is an independent agency within the District government. Both measures received favorable votes and are a testament to her commitment to deliver safe, sanitary, and affordable housing to residents in all 8 wards of the District.

The next legislative meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 13 at 10:00 in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building. To follow any of the bills from the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, or other bills circulating in the Council, please visit the online legislative information management system (“LIMS”) at: www.lims.dccouncil.us.

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