First, Chief Tenant Advocate Shreve & all of us at OTA hope you are staying safe during the COVID-19 emergency.
Second, the Council has suspended all hearings – both legislative and budget-related – for at least 2 weeks. It may take a few weeks before they are rescheduled. Meanwhile, all Council offices remain open, however like the OTA & many other DC agencies, they will operate on a telecommute basis.
Third, today the Council passed emergency COVID-19 legislation (effective upon the Mayor’s signature). Key tenant rights & rental housing provisions include:
Utility services: Utility companies (electric, gas, and water) are prohibited from disconnecting services during a public health emergency and for 15 days following the end of the emergency;
Evictions & late fees: Housing providers are prohibited from:
Evicting any residential tenant during the emergency (commercial tenants are also protected);
Charging a late fee during the emergency;
TOPA & RHA rights: Tenant and tenant association deadlines under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) – and the Rental Housing Act – are extended until 30 days after the end of the emergency;
Licensing & registration: The Mayor is allowed to extend housing provider (and other) licenses and registration deadlines.
Fourth, from DC Superior Court yesterday:
- All trials scheduled on or before May 1, 2020 are continued;
- All L&T and Small Claims hearings are continued, pending the Court setting new dates and notifying the parties;
- All evictions of tenants and foreclosed homeowners on or before May 1, 2020, are stayed.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns and stay safe!