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District of Columbia Housing Regulations

The District’s housing regulations apply to rental as well as non-rental housing in the District of Columbia. They set forth a broad range of legal rights that tenants have, and the steps that tenants need to take to exercise those rights. The relevant Title of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) is Title 14. Title 14 has 97 chapters, some of which are reserved for later use, and which cover topics such as:

  • How the housing regulations are to be enforced;
  • The rules for housing business licensing;
  • Various aspects of landlord and tenant relations, including illegal lease provisions and security deposits;
  • The housing code criteria as to whether the accommodation is being properly maintained and kept in good repair;
  • Requirements that apply to specific types of housing -- apartment buildings, rooming houses, boarding houses, and hotels and motels;
  • Certificate of Occupancy requirements;
  • How and when the District may abate housing code violations;
  • Various government housing programs;
  • Rules implementing the provisions of the Rental Housing Act of 1985, including:
  • Rent control;
  • Tenant evictions and landlord retaliation;
  • Tenant relocation assistance;
  • The roles of the Rent Administrator and the Rental Housing Commission; and
  • The procedure for rental housing cases;
  • Rules implementing the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980, including:
  • The right of tenants to determine whether or not to convert the building to condos or a cooperative; and
  • The tenant right of purchase;
  • The process for establishing a “tenant receivership” when the landlord fails to keep the building in good repair; and
  • The requirements regarding “reasonable accommodations” for persons with disabilities.

Due to recent changes in private-sector service provider contracts, some links you may have used in the past to get to Title 14 may no longer function. Please be assured, however, that the District -- through the Office of the Secretary (OS) -- has and will continue to maintain free on-line access to Title 14 as well as a number of the other DCMR Titles.