Tenants' Basic Rights in D.C.

The following are among the basic rights of residential tenants in the District:

  1. The right to housing that is safe and sanitary and that meets the requirements of the Housing Code. Basic maintenance is the landlord's, not the tenant's, responsibility.
  2. The right to the quiet use and enjoyment of their home.
  3. The right to the exclusive use of their home, with limited exceptions.
  4. The right, with a few exceptions, not to be discriminated against, by a landlord, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, matriculation, familial status, source of income, place of residence/business, or status as a victim of an intrafamily offense.
  5. The right not to sign a new lease after an initial lease has expired.
  6. The right, with some exceptions, to continue to live in a property even after a lease has expired.
  7. The right, usually, to at least 30 days' (sometimes more) written notice before a landlord can seek eviction through the courts.
  8. The right not to be physically evicted unless the landlord has won an eviction case against the tenant, in court.
  9. The right to a jury trial, in an eviction case, if properly requested at the initial hearing in the case.
  10. The right to have a landlord change his/her practices & procedures under certain circumstances, to accommodate a disability.
  11. The right, usually, to purchase the property they're renting, before a landlord can sell it to anyone else or discontinue its rental use.
  12. The right, with some exceptions, to keep renting property after a change in ownership.
  13. The right not to pay more than fair rental value for rent, unless the tenant has agreed to pay some specific higher amount.
  14. The right to organize other tenants.
  15. The right to complain to the government about housing conditions.
  16. The right to be protected from certain retaliatory actions by a landlord.
  17. The right to strict limits on requested rent increases by the landlord, unless the property is exempt from rent control.