FAQ: Tenant Repayment Plan for Residents Impacted by COVID-19
Landlords and Tenants Can Create Their Own One-Year Plan
District residents cannot be evicted for the duration of the public health emergency plus sixty days; nor can they be charged late fees for the duration of the public health emergency. Unless extended, the public health emergency ends on Friday, October 9.
If a tenant falls behind on their rent due to the public health emergency, the landlord must offer a payment plan to help them become current.
The following are frequently asked questions to help landlords and tenants reach a payment plan agreement.
A tenant has given notice of financial difficulty due to COVID-19 and fallen behind on their rent. Can a landlord evict them?
No. On March 11, 2020, Mayor Bowser declared a public emergency and public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic which included a moratorium on evictions. In response to the declared emergencies, the D.C. Council passed several legislative amendments, including the Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (Act) which establishes a tenant rent payment plan.
Are landlords required to offer their tenants a payment plan should they fall behind on their rent?
Yes. Landlords and property managers shall develop and provide a tenant payment plan program for eligible tenants. To be eligible, a tenant must have a current residential lease agreement and notify the landlord or property manager of an inability to pay all or a portion of the rent due to the public health emergency.
Also, the housing provider must:
Notify all tenants of plan availability and process;
Establish applicant procedures which may include requiring a tenant to provide supporting documentation; and
Provide for an application process online or by telephone.
What are the required terms for establishing a payment plan?
The housing provider and tenant must create their own payment plan agreement. However, terms of be payment plan must:
Be in writing;
Be for the payment of gross rent and any other amounts coming due under the lease agreement;
Be for a minimum term of 1 year unless the tenant requests a shorter term;
Provide for equal monthly installments for the duration of the payment plan unless the tenant agrees to a different payment schedule;
Waive any fee or penalty accruing under a payment plan;
Permit a tenant to pay an amount greater than the monthly amount provided for in the payment plan; and
Not require any lump sum payment.
After an agreement has been reached are there any additional requirements or considerations?
Yes, there are additional requirements for housing providers when a payment plan has been reached with a tenant. A housing provider shall:
Not report any negative information about a tenant under a payment plan to a credit bureau;
Provide that an eligible tenant does not lose any rights under the payment plan;
Approve each payment plan application if the tenant can demonstrate 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 before the public health emergency began;
Keep copies of all approved or rejected plan applications for three (3) years; and
At the request of the tenant, provide a copy of a payment plan to the Rent Administrator at the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Rental Accommodations Division.
If a payment plan agreement with a tenant is not reached or their application is denied, can eviction proceedings begin?
No. A tenant whose payment plan application is denied may file a written complaint with the Rent Administrator who will review the complaint for completeness and then refer the complaint to the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) for adjudication.
A tenant complaint form is available at https://dhcd.dc.gov/service/rent-control. A complaint form must be filled out, signed and dated, and include copies of relevant and supporting documentation. A tenant may submit a complaint to:
Tenant complaints may be submitted by mail, hand delivered to the drop box available in the agency’s lobby (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.—3:30 p.m.), or emailing the complaint form and supporting documentation to email@example.com.
Can tenants get assistance from DHCD with filing a complaint?
Tenants may obtain assistance with completing a complaint by contacting these organizations:
Office of the Tenant Advocate (202) 719-6560
Housing Counseling Services (202) 667-7006
Latino Economic Development Center (202) 588-5102.
The Rental Accommodations Division may be reached on (202) 442-9505.