The OTA Elderly / Disability Tenant Rent Control Registration Clinic
The District of Columbia’s rent control law limits the amount and the frequency of rent increases for all affected rental units.* For any unit under rent control, the landlord may increase the rent no more than once every twelve (12) months. For elderly tenants (age 62 or over) and tenants with disabilities, the standard annual increase can be no greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W)** up to a maximum of five (5) percent. For all other tenants, the standard annual increase can be no greater than the CPI-W plus two (2) percent, up to a maximum of ten (10) percent.
In order to qualify for the lower rent increase cap, the tenant must have registered his or her elderly or disability status with the Rent Administrator’s office.
Overview of the Clinic
Many eligible renters in the District are not aware that they are entitled to this lower rent increase cap. Accordingly, the D.C. Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) holds regular clinics to educate elderly tenants, and tenants with disabilities, about how to take advantage of this important affordability protection.
The OTA holds clinics throughout the year and in various locations throughout the District -- including apartment buildings and other complexes that have a substantial number of elderly / disability residents or visitors. At the clinic the OTA will:
1. Explain the relevant rent control provisions;
2. Assist renters with completing the registration forms on-site; and
3. Take completed forms and file them with the Rent Administrator’s office on tenants’ behalf.
Participants should bring appropriate age and/or disability documentation to the clinic. There is no processing fee, and the lower rent increase cap applies to eligible tenants without regard to income.
Community Leaders – How to Participate
Community leaders can assist the OTA with this important initiative by:
1. Identifying apartment buildings, community centers, and other locations that have a high percentage of residents or visitors who are elderly or have a disability;
2. Scheduling a time for the OTA to come to the location for a presentation and registration clinic;
3. Placing copies of the OTA flyer at appropriate locations likely to reach affected tenants (see link below);
4. Including information about this initiative in community newsletters, brochures, or flyers, or on community bulletin boards.
• Request an OTA Elderly / Disability Rent Control Registration Clinic Right Now
• The OTA Elderly / Disability Rent Control Registration Clinic Flyer (can be modified to reflect the date, time, and location for a clinic)
*Rent control applies to any unit that does not have an exemption. The most common exemptions from rent control are for buildings built after 1975; units owned by a “small landlord” -- defined as an owner of four or fewer rental units in the District; and units subject to a government subsidy.
**The CPI-W is published each year by the Rental Housing Commission and is effective for the “rent control year” starting on May 1st and ending on April 30th of the following year.