This week, the D.C. Council passed an omnibus bill that makes permanent many of the landlord-tenant provisions contained in the public health emergency legislation. Despite the new law, DCAR was successful at working with councilmembers to roll back/modify several large items found in the bill dealing with application fees, basic business license requirements, credit reporting and fair housing violations:
Original language: $35 hard cap on application fees.
Final language: $50 cap but may be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, beginning January 1, 2024.
Basic business license requirements
Original language: Housing providers wouldn’t have been able to file for an eviction without a basic business license (BBL).
Final language: The court may waive BBL requirements if the housing provider can show that they were unable to obtain or renew a license due to extenuating circumstances, including agency delays, medical emergencies and cases where the tenant does not permit entry for inspections/repairs.
Original language: Housing providers could have been liable for adverse information received in a credit report.
Final language: Housing providers now have protection from information received in a credit report containing details that may not be used as the basis of an adverse action; provided that the housing provider did not specifically request or inquire about this information and can demonstrate that they did not base an adverse action on such information.
Fair housing violation
Original language: After an application denial, a prospective tenant could provide evidence of mitigating circumstances that demonstrate their fitness to meet tenancy obligations. The housing provider would then have three days to consider and respond to evidence, then offer to rent to the prospective tenant the next available rental unit.
Final language: This language was removed entirely.