Warning to DC Landlords: You may think you are exempt from rent control! ARE YOU?
In the District of Columbia, the DHCD Rental Accommodations Division (“RAD”) administers the District’s Rent Control Act. All housing accommodations must be registered with RAD, except dormitories, hospitals, units operated by foreign governments, and a few others.
The Law places all of the District’s housing stock under rent control UNLESS exempted and, in order to be exempted, one must follow certain regulations and filing procedures in order to qualify for exemption. In other words, you must register to qualify for exemption.
Luckily, the District makes it relatively easy to register your housing accommodation business online at https://mybusiness.dc.gov/#/, and when the proper Basic Business License (a “BBL with Housing Endorsement”) is procured, the RAD registration process automatically commences. It’s that simple.
The BBL with Housing Endorsement is a must-have for landlords because:
- it is illegal to collect rent in the District without one,
- it allows the landlord to sue to evict or seek other remedies against a bad tenant,
- it triggers RAD registration, DCRA inspection of the premises, Fire Marshal approval, and other government processes necessary to ensure your rental property is a safe place for tenants,
- The DC Attorney General is authorized to penalize and fine the landlord if there is no licensure, and
- Landlords cannot use the Court system to collect rents or evict tenants if there is no licensure.
Moreover, once the BBL is issued with the Housing Endorsement and the exemption certificate, the exemption may not be retroactive, such that current tenants may still be under rent control!
The District gives landlords so many reasons to comply, so do so today and avoid the completely unnecessary pain of having a disgruntled tenant seek rental reimbursement under the Rent Control Act. Contact Weiss LLP for advice and assistance in complying with all small rental business requirements in the District.