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Office of the Tenant Advocate

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Due to COVID-19, the office is closed to walk-ins until further notice.
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Rent Appeals

The Rental Housing Commission (RHC) only accepts appeals from the Rent Administrator (RA) if the cases are covered by the District’s Rental Housing Act of 1985 (Act). Before you file an appeal with the RHC, you must get a final decision or order from the Rent Administrator (RA). You may represent yourself or you may be represented by a lawyer. If you represent yourself, you may find the RHC’s pro se forms helpful to use.

To File an Appeal With the RHC

  1. Read the RA’s decision to find out if the hearing examiner made legal errors.
  2. Type or print your Notice of Appeal–a 1-page summary of the decision’s legal errors. Give reasons why the hearing examiner’s decision should be reversed or you should have another hearing.
  3. Include a Certificate of Service showing the names of the opposing party or parties.
  4. File your appeal in person at the RHC within 10 business days of the decision; or 10 business days after you file a motion for reconsideration, if you file one with the RA. If the RA mails the decision, you must file within 13 days. The RHC cannot extend the filing deadline.
  5. Serve the Notice of Appeal on the landlord–or the landlord’s lawyer, if there is one.
  6. Everyone must follow all rules in 14 DCMR 3800-4300 and the Act. Don’t try to discuss your case with the RHC: You, the landlord, and the landlord’s lawyers may not write or talk about legal issues with the Commissioners outside the hearing process. That’s ex parte communication: it’s illegal.

What the RHC Does With Your Appeal

After you file the Notice of Appeal, the RHC will:

  1. Request the certified hearing record from the RA.
  2. Notify the parties (or your lawyers) when the RHC gets the certified file.
  3. Notify the parties of the deadline for filing briefs.
  4. Set the hearing date, time, and place and tell theparties.
  5. Determine if all parties appear. (If you don’t appear, RHC may dismiss the appeal.)
  6. Hold the hearing.
  7. Issue a decision to affirm, reverse, or remand the RA’s decision.

To Appeal the RHC Decision

If you find errors in the RHC decision, you may file a Motion for Reconsideration within 10 business days, or petition the DC Court of Appeals for review within 30 calendar days, or you may do both. You must follow the same procedures for a Motion for Reconsideration as you did for the Notice of Appeal. You may get a copy of the hearing tape from the RA before RHC gets the certified record, or from RHC after it gets the certified record from the RA. If you want a transcript, you must designate and pay a qualified court reporting company; RHC will send a copy of the tape to be transcribed. Be sure you know:

  • Your case number
  • RA’s decision date
  • Other party’s name

Helpful Hints

  • Keep track of the time limits in the Act and regulations
  • RHC is not a substitute for the Landlord and Tenant Court

For More Information

Visit the RHC at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 1140B North, or call (202) 442-8949.