The Washington D.C. rental agreements are legal contracts that are created between a landlord and a tenant. These documents include the terms and conditions associated with the use of the property, including the amount of the rent. All agreements must comply with Washington D.C. landlord-tenant law.
Washington D.C. Rental Agreement Types
Washington D.C. Required Lease Disclosures
- Tenant’s Bill of Rights (required for all)– Landlords shall distribute a copy of the Tenant Bill of Rights published by the Office of the Tenant Advocate to every tenant. This Bill outlines the basic rights of tenancy in Washington D.C.
- RAD Form 3 (Applicant Disclosure Form) (required for all) – When a prospective tenant files an application to lease a rental unit, the housing provider must provide a disclosure published by the Rent Administrator.
- Rad Form 5 (Notice of Disclosure Forms) (required for all) – This disclosure must be completed in full and signed by the housing provider. A copy of the form should be provided to the tenant.
- Rent Control/Exemption Status (required for some) – Washington D.C. is one of the few states that has rent control. Landlords must disclose if the property is rent-controlled or has an exempt status of the housing accommodation, its business license, and a copy of the registration or claim of exemption together with the most recent notice filed.
- Mold Disclosure (required for some) – This disclosure requires landlords to inform tenants of the history of known presence of indoor mold contamination in the rental unit or within the common areas of the premises in the past three years. If remediation has been completed by a professional remediation company that is licensed and certified in the District of Columbia, proof of completion should be given to the tenant.
- Voter Registration Packet (required for all) – The disclosure form published by the Rent Administrator shall include the voter registration packet developed by the District of Columbia Board of Elections.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for all) – Every Washington D.C. lease agreement is required to include a lead-based paint disclosure (to protect a landlord’s liability from damages) alongside an EPA-approved pamphlet and information about any existing hazards that exist in a pre-1978 building to help keep tenants safe.
To learn more about required disclosures in Washington D.C., click here.
Washington D.C. Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – In Washington D.C., a lawful landlord must provide their tenants with hot/cold running water, plumbing, smoke detectors, and more. If repairs are needed to make the unit habitable, a landlord must fix the issue within a “reasonable” timeframe. A Washington tenant may not withhold rent or use the repair and deduct method.
- Evictions – Washington D.C. landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to a lease violation, demolition/sale/renovation of rental unit, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to comply or quit, depending on the type of eviction. In most cases, an eviction in this state can be completed in a few weeks to a few months.
- Security Deposits – Currently, Washington D.C. landlords may only charge a maximum of 1 month’s rent for a security deposit. Additionally, all remaining funds of a security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 45 days of the end of the lease.
- Lease Termination – To break off a month-to-month lease, a Washington D.C. tenant must provide at least 30 days of notice. A fixed-term lease tenant may break their lease early by providing proof of one of the following conditions: active military duty, landlord harassment, unit uninhabitability, or domestic violence.
- Rent Increases & Fees – A Washington D.C. landlord must abide by the Rental Housing Act of 1985 (if applicable). Washington D.C. landlords must meet certain criteria to increase the cost of rent; however, no landlord should increase rent more than 6.2% unless they receive approval from the Rental Housing Commission (this does not apply to renters who are 62 years or older or to those who have a disability). Rent increases must come with a 30-day notice. Additionally, late fees are limited to 5% of the monthly rent amount and bounced check fees are capped at $25.
- Landlord Entry – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs during reasonable hours. Landlords should give the tenant at least 48 hours-notice before entering the premises unless it is an emergency.
- Settling Legal Disputes – Washington D.C. landlord and tenants may settle disputes through the state’s small claims court. This venue may be used for this purpose if their case is valued less than $10,000.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Washington D.C., click here.