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Written by Beth Mellen

Jul 13

2021

Legal Aid and Other Advocates Call for More Time as DC Council Votes Today on Legislation to Wind Down Eviction Protections

Today the DC Council will consider emergency legislation to wind down eviction protections that have been in place throughout the pandemic.  The proposal, drafted by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, would allow actual evictions to move forward immediately, following a 30-day notice to tenants; allow landlords to serve past due rent notices on tenants immediately and to serve pre-court notices for other eviction grounds starting on September 26; and allow landlords to file new eviction cases for nonpayment of rent on October 12 and other types of eviction cases on January 1.

The backdrop for this legislation is Mayor Muriel Bowser’s announcement that she will not extend the public health emergency declaration, meaning eviction protections tied to that declaration will expire sooner if the Council does not act.  While we appreciate the difficult position that the Mayor’s announcement puts the Council in, we urge Councilmembers to pass amendments to the bill to make sure that tenants are not evicted unnecessarily during the transition out of emergency protections.  Yesterday, Legal Aid and several of our advocacy partners sent a sign-on letter to the Council outlining our request to provide for more time and include other technical amendments.   Read more →

May 17

2021

DC Council to Consider Restarting Eviction Process Before New STAY DC Rental Assistance Program Is Effectively Serving Tenants

On Tuesday, the DC Council will consider a legislative proposal to cut back on the District’s eviction moratorium.  Landlords currently are prohibited from serving tenants with eviction notices, filing new eviction cases, or actually evicting tenants.  In early April, the Council approved a narrow exception allowing the eviction process to restart where tenants present a current and substantial public safety threat.  The Council now will consider whether to create a similar exception for nonpayment of rent.

In December 2020 and March 2021, the federal government approved sending up to $352 million in emergency rental assistance to the District for tenants who fell behind on rent during the pandemic.  On April 12, the District launched the new STAY DC program with an online application portal to distribute these funds.  Since that time, according to numbers provided by the Department of Housing & Community Development last week, approximately 10,000 tenants have submitted completed applications online and another 10,000 tenants have started the process.  Unfortunately, according to the Mayor’s staff, not a single payment has been made.  These problems must be resolved first.

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