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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.
For telephone intakes please call (202) 719-6560.

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Summer Housing Code Protections

During the summer, landlords must follow special rules to protect the health and safety of their residents and neighbors.


Window and door screens protect tenants from insects and pests. DC law requires that landlords:

  • Put screens on all doors and windows from March 15 to November 15 of every year.
  • Make sure the screens don’t have holes or cracks–and that they have at least 16 meshes to the inch or a screen that is just as effective.
  • Provide hinged screen doors that open outwards and are self-closing.

Alternatives to screens may be used only with DOB’s approval

Air Conditioning

Landlords whose tenants have leases that require air conditioning must keep inside temperatures at least 15 degrees cooler than the temperature outside. Air conditioning can be provided by a central air conditioning system or by individual units.

Landlords must also:

  • Get air conditioning units inspected by a master refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic between September 1 and May 1 every year. 
  • File inspection results with the Department of Buildings (DOB) within 7 days of receipt of the inspection results.

Any landlord who doesn’t follow these rules can get a Notice of Violation and possible penalties.

Grass Cutting

Every year, from May 1 through October 31, DOB enforces seasonal grass-cutting rules. Uncut grass and weeds can:

  • Make asthma, hay fever, and other respiratory problems worse.
  • Create hiding places for rats, snakes, and other pests.
  • Cause fire hazards.
  • Give off unpleasant and noxious odors.
  • Collect trash

All property owners are required to follow these rules about grass and weeds:

  • Keep grass and weeds cut to no more than 10 inches tall.
  • Clear areas of shrubbery, if they could damage the public’s health, safety or welfare.
  • Remove dead and diseased grass and weeds.