Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Office of the Tenant Advocate

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

OTA Amicus Curiae Filings

Tippett v. Daly

(Case No. 06-CV-1327; OTA brief filed 3/19/09; DCCA decision 12/30/10 at 10 A.3d 1123)

In this case, tenant timely mailed – with 2 weeks to spare -- a letter of interest in exercising his TOPA rights; however, landlord didn't receive it timely solely due to Post Office delay.  On appeal, DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of landlord. Tenant filed a motion for en banc review and asked OTA for a letter of support.  After granting en banc review, the Court once again ruled against the tenant.  Per OTA's request for a legislative fix, Council amended the TOPA law to include "the mailbox rule"; thus, tenant's letter of intent is valid so long as it is timely dropped into the mailbox and is a certified mailing.  See Law 18–193, effective 9/10/2010.

Tippett v. Daly - OTA Amicus letter


Burkhardt et al v. RHC

(Case No. 15-AA-1243; OTA brief 11/10/16; DCCA decision 12/20/18 at 198 A.3d 183)

In this case, the Rent Administrator approved landlord's application for approval to issue 120-day Notices to Vacate under section 501(f) of the Rental Housing Act (temporary eviction / relocation to make alterations and renovations that cannot safely be made while the units are occupied).  Tenants challenged the approval of the Notices claiming that the lack of an administrative hearing violated their Constitutional Due Process rights.  In denying the tenants' challenge, the Commission suggested that the OTA's statutory role in the 501(f) process -- and substantial evidence that the OTA had fulfilled that role -- helped satisfy tenant's Due Process rights.  Tenants appealed the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals. In an amicus brief in support of tenants, OTA argued that because tenants' interests may diverge, the OTA's statutory role on behalf of tenants collectively can never satisfy the Constitutional Due Process interests of tenants individually.  The Court ruled against tenants on other grounds.

Burkhardt et al v. RHC - OTA Amicus brief


Williams v. Kennedy

(Case No. 17-CV-681; OTA brief 7/18/18; DCCA decision 7/11/19 at 211 A.3d 1108)

In this case, the DC Court of Appeals invited the OTA to opine on a hypothetical question:  whether a co-owner to co-owner transfer of an interest in rental property that shifts the majority interest from the former to the latter is a sale for purposes of the tenant right of purchase under TOPA.  OTA opined that the answer should be determined on a case-by-case basis, and that the Court should apply the statutory indicia of a sale with due consideration for other "controlling interest" criteria (notwithstanding the fact that the statute does not explicitly use the term "controlling interest" to describe the operative criteria).  The Court disagreed with OTA regarding the implicit "controlling interest" principle underlying the TOPA law, and its relevance to the explicit statutory criteria for a "sale."  Instead, the Court ruled categorically that TOPA does not apply to transfers between individual co-owners, unless there is also a transfer to an outside party.

Williams v. Kennedy - OTA Amicus brief


Cambridge House v. Nimri

(Case No. 2018-DHCD-TP 30,999; OTA brief 7/19/21; RHC decision 6/7/22)

In this case, the landlord failed to provide the tenant with a three-year "history of rent increases" disclosure for his rent-controlled unit at the outset of the tenancy.  Tenant became aware of an exorbitant and unregistered vacancy rent increase only after receiving his first rent adjustment – more than three years after the three-year statute of limitations (SOL) had lapsed.  When tenant challenged the vacancy rent increase at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), landlord filed an interlocutory appeal to RHC arguing that the SOL precludes the tenant's claim.  OTA filed an amicus brief supporting the tenant's position; where landlord fails to provide tenant with a required disclosure – the very purpose of which is to ferret out unlawful rent increases taken prior to the start of the tenancy -- landlord should not be allowed to rely on the SOL to avoid accountability for unlawful rent increases.  Rather the doctrine of "equitable tolling" and related concepts like the "discovery rule" should apply.  The case is pending at OAH under RHC's order to consider such concepts in light of the factual record.

Cambridge House v. Nimri - OTA Amicus brief