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Rent Increase Caps Under Rent Control After the Rent Increase Freeze Ends

Monday, December 20, 2021

As of December 31, 2021, the District’s moratorium on rent increase notices to tenants – imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic – will end. This means that, as of that date, landlord may issue a 30-day notice of a rent increase and demand the new rent as of February 1, 2022. Tenants in rent-controlled housing should therefore be aware of the statutory maximum rent increases that a landlord may demand. In February 2021, the DC Rental Housing Commission published the standard rent increase caps for Rent Control Year 2021 (RC21), which apply only to rent control units and took effect at the start of RC21 (May 1, 2021 through April 30, 2022). The caps are as follows:

  • For elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities, the cap on the standard annual rent increase will be 1% ;(the increase in the CPI alone). Elderly tenants and tenants with a disability living in rent-controlled units are guaranteed annual rent increases of no more than the lesser  of the CPI, the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (SS COLA – 1.3% for 2021), or 5%. Please note – in order to qualify for the lower cap, a tenant must have registered their elderly or disability status with the Rental Accommodations Division at the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
  • For all other rent-controlled units, the standard rent increase cap will be 3% (CPI + 2%). Generally, a landlord may increase the rent in a rent-controlled unit by the CPI + 2%, or 10%, whichever is less. A housing provider may seek a larger rent increase by filing a petition with the Rental Accommodations Division for a capital improvement, change in services or facilities, hardship, or substantial rehabilitation.

To see the Rental Housing Commission’s order, visit: 2021 Rental Housing Commission Rent Control Caps Resolution

View the OTA’s historical comparison of rent control CPI versus SS COLA percentages.