Unable to Pay Rent?
Landlords are Required to Accept any Reasonable Repayment Plan
Thursday, September 2, 2020
42–3192.01 Tenant Payment Plans
During a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant § 7-2304.01, and for one year thereafter ("program period"), a provider shall offer a rent payment plan program ("program") for eligible tenants.
Under its program, a provider shall:
Make a payment plan available to an eligible tenant for the payment of gross rent and any other amounts that come due under the lease during the program period and prior to the cessation of tenancy ("covered time period"), with a minimum term length of one year unless a shorter payment plan term length is requested by the eligible tenant.
Waive any fee, interest, or penalty that arises out of an eligible tenant entering into a payment plan.
Not report to a credit reporting agency as delinquent the rent subject to the payment plan.
Provide that an eligible tenant does not lose any rights under the lease by entering into the payment plan, and,
Notify all tenants of the availability, terms, and application process for its program.
Tenants entering into a payment plan shall be required to make payments in equal monthly installments for the duration of the payment plan unless a different payment schedule is requested by the tenant.
A provider shall permit a tenant that has entered into a payment plan to pay an amount greater than the monthly amount provided for in the payment plan.
A provider shall not require or request a tenant to provide a lump-sum payment under a payment plan.
A provider shall agree in writing to the terms of a payment plan.
A provider shall utilize existing procedures or, if necessary, establish new procedures to provide a process by which an eligible tenant may apply for a payment plan, which may include requiring the tenant to submit supporting documentation. A provider shall permit an application for a payment plan to occur online and by telephone.
A provider shall approve each application for a payment plan submitted during a covered time period in which an eligible tenant:
1.) Demonstrates to the provider evidence of a financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the public health emergency, regardless of an existing delinquency or a future inability to make rental payments established prior to the start of the public health emergency; and
2.) Agrees in writing to make payments in accordance with the payment plan.
3.) A provider who receives an application for a payment plan shall retain the application, whether approved or denied, for at least 3 years.
Upon request of the tenant, a provider shall make an application for a payment plan available to the Rent Administrator and/or the Office of the Tenant Advocate.
A residential tenant whose application for a payment plan is denied may file a written complaint with the Rent Administrator. The Rent Administrator shall forward the complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings for adjudication.
During the program period, unless the provider has offered a rent payment plan pursuant to this section and approved a rent payment plan, the provider shall be prohibited from filing any collection lawsuit or eviction for non-payment of rent; provided, that the tenant does not default on the terms of the payment plan.
"Eligible tenant" means a tenant that has notified a provider of an inability to pay all or a portion of the rent due as a result of the public health emergency.
"Housing provider" means a person or entity who is a residential landlord, residential owner, residential lessor, residential sublessor, residential assignee, or the agent of any of the foregoing or any other person receiving or entitled to receive the rents or benefits for the use or occupancy of any residential rental unit within a housing accommodation within the District.
Be certain to get all agreements in writing and signed by the landlord.
(June 8, 2020, D.C. Act 23-328, § 402, 67 DCR 7598; July 7, 2020, D.C. Act 23-332, § 2(b), 0 DCR 0.)