Elderly and Tenants with Disabilities Protection Act Passes DC Council

WASHINGTON, DC –Last week, the Council of the District of Columbia approved final passage of the Elderly and Tenants with Disabilities Act, authored by At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds.

The “Elderly Tenant and Tenant with a Disability Protection Amendment Act of 2016” will protect low-income elderly and low-income tenants with disabilities from sharp increases in rent, by exempting them from rent increases resulting from the following housing provider petitions: Hardship, Services and Facilities, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Voluntary Agreements.

A hardship petition is a tool used by the housing provider to increase a unit’s rent when a housing provider does not reach a 12% rate of return. The average hardship petition rent increase granted by the rent administrator within the last 9 years is $350.00/month.

The bill also allows more elderly or disabled tenants to qualify for the exemption by raising the maximum annual income of an elderly or tenant with a disability from $40,000 to 60% of the area median income.

“Hardship petition rent increases place a significant burden on the tenant. It is now time to add the safeguards of this bill to protect low-income seniors and tenants with disabilities from high rents and possible displacement,” stated Councilmember Bonds.

Additionally, for all elderly or disabled tenants regardless of income, the bill specifies that the housing provider may only raise the rent to the least of: the Social Security COLA, 5 percent of the current rent, or the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).

The legislation will be sent to Mayor Muriel Bowser for her signature and if approved, forwarded for congressional review.

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