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Capital Improvement Petition Process

A landlord may petition the Rental Accommodations and Conversion Division (RACD) for a rent increase to cover capital improvement costs—not for ordinary maintenance and repair.

Capital improvements are any work to substantially rehabilitate or improve a housing accommodation. Some examples are:

  • Replacing a roof or elevator
  • Installing new windows
  • Replacing or installing carpet
  • Installing new appliances

Before your landlord can start a capital improvement, he/she must take these documents to the RACD:

  • Basic Business License
  • Certificate of Occupancy
  • Completed Capital Improvement Petition
  • Most recent Rent Control Registration Form and fees
  • A description of the improvements -- and any increase or decrease in related services
  • All plans, specifications and project costs
  • Envelopes for each rental unit in the building, addressed to each tenant

The landlord must also request an inspection of the building or the units that will be rehabilitated–30 days before submitting the capital improvement petition.

How the Capital Improvement Petition Affects Rent

Increases to cover improvement costs in individual units can’t be more than 15 percent more than the original rent; and, to cover building-wide improvements, no more than 20 percent. The landlord can only make the increase after all improvements are done, and it can only be in effect long enough for the landlord to recover the costs of the improvements. DC regulations allow the landlord to spread the costs of building-wide improvements over 96 months and individual unit improvements over 64 months.

For more information about the capital improvement petition process, call the RACD at (202) 442-4477.

If your landlord fails to follow any of these rules, please contact the Office of the Tenant Advocate for help.