DCAR testifies at DC Council hearing on rent control

On September 24, the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® testified at a DC Council public hearing on rent control. Details about the legislation, as well as DCAR’s position on each bill, are included below.

You can read our testimony hereEmail us if you have questions about any of this legislation.

Please read our positions below and, if you’d like to submit your own comments, do so by Thursday, October 8 to housing@dccouncil.us.

Bill 23-0237, “Rent Concession Amendment Act of 2019”

Summary: As introduced Bill 23-0237 clarifies the applicability of abolishment of rent ceilings. Among other things, it clarifies when a rent increase may be implemented by a housing provider. It defines and regulates discounted rent. It also requires rental advertisements to include the proposed rent charged as well as surcharges.

DCAR is currently closely monitoring this legislation, but will be testifying that housing providers should have the option for concessions if they ultimately benefit tenants and that additional transparency is needed on the advertisement, as this Bill as is confusing.

Bill 23-0530, “Rent Stabilization Affordability Qualification Amendment Act of 2020”

Summary: As introduced Bill 23-530 sets income eligibility standards for renting a rent stabilized apartment. A unit covered under the Rent Stabilization Program shall only be rented to a tenant with a monthly adjusted gross income less than 5 times the monthly rent charged for the unit.

DCAR is currently neutral on this bill, but is recommending that if the Council wants to consider means testing as a broader way to better manage who utilizes rent control, a Working Group should be formed to comprehensively study the issue before moving forward on legislation.

Bill 23-0877, “Substantial Rehabilitation Petition Reform Amendment Act of 2020”

Summary: As introduced Bill 23-877 allows a temporary rent surcharge if the Rent Administrator determines a substantial rehabilitation or capital improvement is in the interest of the affected tenants or under a determination of a hardship. It establishes how the Rent Administrator will conclude that a rent surcharge should be approved.

DCAR is currently in support of the bill, as we support the ability of a housing provider to implement temporary surcharges for the rehabilitation of their properties.

Bill 23-0878, the “Voluntary Agreement Moratorium Agreement Act of 2020”

Summary: As introduced Bill 23-878 enacts a 2-year moratorium on voluntary agreements between tenants and housing providers including to establish rent ceilings, provide for capital improvements, and alter services.

DCAR is currently opposed to the bill. Sweepingly through a 2 year moratorium limiting a housing provider and tenants right to contract goes against freedom to contract between private parties. If there is currently a problem in the community, then that should be narrowly approached.

Bill 23-0879, “Capital Improvement Petition Reform Amendment Act of 2020”

Summary: As introduced Bill 23-879 establishes when the Rent Administrator shall approve a temporary rent surcharge due to a capital improvement. Among other things It also sets a cap on the amount of the rent surcharge.

DCAR is currently closely monitoring this legislation, as housing providers need to have clear guidelines on what will specifically qualify as improvement to a unit’s market value.

DCAR endorses five candidates for 2020 DC Council

After a series of interviews and extensive deliberation, the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS®’ Political Action Committee (DCAR RPAC) made the decision to strongly endorse five candidates for DC Council in the 2020 General Election. Each of the candidates is a champion of homeownership and is working to provide better opportunities for small businesses. The candidates are committed to tackling issues vital to REALTORS® during their time in office.

DCAR PAC-endorsed candidates for DC Council

  • Robert White, At-Large Democratic. Robert White remains a great legislative partner on the Council and has worked with REALTORS® on issues spanning property tax credits for new homeowners to helping our housing providers work more efficiently with government agencies.
  • Vincent Orange, At-Large Independent. Vincent Orange is a responsive voice for our residents and has made it clear that he wants to push for the district’s continued economic vibrancy during these challenging times. DCAR believes he will be a steadfast voice for fiscal responsibility on the Council.
  • Brooke Pinto, Ward 2. Brooke Pinto has shown her openness to work with REALTORS® since coming onto the Council this summer.  She understands the importance of REALTOR® issues, such as mortgage protection and COVID-19 protections for our residents during the pandemic.  She offers practical solutions to housing-related matters.
  • Vincent Gray, Ward 7. Vincent Gray has worked tirelessly for more than 15 years as a public servant on behalf of District of Columbia residents. He provides a voice for our most vulnerable citizens and always advances the needs of our seniors on the Council.  He will continue to stand by long-time Washingtonians who want to fulfill their dreams of homeownership.
  • Trayon White, Ward 8. Trayon White is an effective advocate for Ward 8 residents, ensuring their needs are well-represented on matters ranging from economic development to affordable housing.  He takes a hands-on approach to constituent services and responds to everyone who reaches out to his office, including our REALTOR® community.

The District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® (DCAR) is a trade association representing nearly 3,000 real estate professionals and serving as a voice for homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters and small housing providers.  DCAR RPAC is an independent body and is registered in DC as Washington, DC Association of REALTORS® PAC. A copy of the report is filed with the Director of Campaign Finance of the District of Columbia Board of Elections. Ed Krauze, Treasurer, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue, Floor 3, Washington, DC 20009.

DC eviction moratorium/state of emergency update

On Tuesday, the DC Council approved a new eviction moratorium during the pandemic and extended DC’s state of emergency. You can read more about the legislation here.

Voting resources

Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters beginning the first week of October. Please consider mailing your ballot back as soon as you complete it, or dropping it off at any ballot drop box beginning Oct. 5 until 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. This includes any Early Vote Center, beginning October 27.

How to vote in person: You can do so either at any Early Vote Center between 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, or vote at any polling place on Election Day. Polls will be open on Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where to vote: You can vote at any location noted on this website.

How to find out if you’re registered to vote: Check your voter registration status on this website.

Is there still time to register? YES! Register to vote on this website.

Additional resources: There are plenty of additional resources available on the DC Board of Elections website, and you can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter for additional, timely information.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at advocacy@dcrealtors.org. We encourage you to vote to make sure your voice is heard.