Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3131.05. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1)(A) “Blighted vacant building” means a vacant building that is determined by the Mayor to be unsafe, insanitary, or which is otherwise determined to threaten the health, safety, or general welfare of the community.

(B) In making a determination that a vacant building is a blighted vacant building, the Mayor shall consider the following:

(i) Whether the vacant building is the subject of a condemnation proceeding before the Board of Condemnation and Insanitary Buildings;

(ii) Whether the vacant building is boarded up; and

(iii) Failure to comply with the following vacant building maintenance standards:

(I) Doors, windows, areaways, and other openings are weather-tight and secured against entry by birds, vermin, and trespassers, and missing or broken doors, windows, and other openings are covered;

(II) The exterior walls are free of holes, breaks, graffiti, and loose or rotting materials, and exposed metal and wood surfaces are protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint; or

(III) All balconies, porches, canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, stairways, accessory and appurtenant structures, and similar features are safe and sound, and exposed metal and wood surfaces are protected from the elements by application of weather-coating materials, such as paint.

(1A) “Commercial unit” means a building, or part of a building, zoned for commercial purposes under the zoning regulations of the District of Columbia.

(2) “Dwelling unit” means a room, or group of rooms forming a single unit, designed, or intended to be used, for living and sleeping, whether or not designed or intended for the preparation and eating of meals or to be under the exclusive control of the occupant. The term “dwelling unit” shall not include a room, or group of rooms forming a single unit, in a hotel or motel licensed in the District of Columbia, actively operating as a hotel or motel.

(2A) “Fit for occupancy” means ready for immediate occupancy by a tenant without more than minor cosmetic changes.

(3) “Occupied” means:

(A) For purposes of a dwelling unit, the use of one’s residence in improved real property on a regular basis; and

(B) For purposes of a commercial unit, use consistent with zoning regulations, for which there is a current valid certificate of occupancy, and (i) paid utility receipts for the specified period, executed lease agreements, or sales tax return, or (ii) other evidence of use of the building that the Mayor may require by rule.

(4) “Owner” means one or more persons or entities with an interest in real property in the District of Columbia that appears in the real property tax records of the Office of Tax and Revenue, and a tax sale purchaser under § 47-1353(b) or the purchaser’s assignee, as applicable, except where the owner of record is challenging or appealing the vacant status of the real property for the same period.

(4A) “Real property” means real property as defined under § 47-802(1).

(4B) “Related owners” or “related ownership” exists when a deduction for a loss from the sale or exchange of properties between taxpayers would be disallowed under section 267 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved August 16, 1954 (68A Stat. 78; 26 U.S.C. § 267); provided, that the exclusion under section 267(a)(1) for a loss in a distribution in a complete liquidation shall not apply.

(5) “Vacant building” means real property improved by a building which, on or after April 27, 2001, has not been occupied continuously; provided, that in the case of residential buildings, a building shall only be a vacant building if the Mayor determines that there is no resident for which an intent to return and occupy the building can be shown. When determining whether there is a resident, the Mayor shall consider the following:

(A) Electrical, gas, or water meter either not running or showing low usage;

(B) Accumulated mail;

(C) Neighbor complaint;

(D) No window covering;

(E) No furniture observable;

(F) Open accessibility;

(G) Deferred maintenance, including loose or falling gutters, severe paint chipping, or overgrown grass; and

(H) The dwelling is boarded up.


(Apr. 14, 1906, 34 Stat. 115, ch. 1626, § 5; as added Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-281, § 101, 48 DCR 1888; Aug. 15, 2008, D.C. Law 17-216, § 3(a), 55 DCR 7500; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 2042(a), 57 DCR 6242; Dec. 4, 2014, D.C. Law 20-141, § 205, 61 DCR 7763; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, §§ 7103(e) and 7104, 61 DCR 9990; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-287, § 4(b), 66 DCR 1650.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-3131.01, § 42-3131.10, and § 42-3131.16.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-216, in the lead-in text, made a technical correction that resulted in no change in the text; in par. (2), substituted “District of Columbia, actively operating as a hotel or motel” for “District of Columbia”; added pars. (2A), (4A), and (4B); and rewrote pars. (4) and (5).

D.C. Law 18-223 redesignated former par. (1) as par. (1A); added par. (1); and rewrote par. (5).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-141, repealed before its effective date, would have substituted “Office of Tax and Revenue, and a tax sale purchaser under § 47-1353(b) or the purchaser’s assignee, as applicable, except where the owner of record is challenging or appealing the vacant status of the real property for the same period” for “Office of Tax and Revenue” in (4).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 substituted “Office of Tax and Revenue, and a tax sale purchaser under § 47-1353(b) or the purchaser's assignee, as applicable, except where the owner of record is challenging or appealing the vacant status of the real property for the same period” for “Office of Tax and Revenue” in (4).

Applicability

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-287: § 8 of D.C. Law 22-287 provided that the change made to this section by § 4(b) of D.C. Law 22-287 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-586, December 28, 2006, 54 DCR 353).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(b) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-586, December 28, 2006, 54 DCR 353).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-173, November 2, 2007, 54 DCR 11204).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(b) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-173, November 2, 2007, 54 DCR 11204).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-436, July 16, 2008, 55 DCR 8272).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(b) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-436, July 16, 2008, 55 DCR 8272).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a), of Real Property Tax Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-313, February 22, 2010, 57 DCR 1645).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2042(a) of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 204 of the Residential Real Property Equity and Transparency Emergency Amendment Act of 2014, (D.C. Act 20-342, May 28, 2014, 61 DCR 5691).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 204 of the Residential Real Property Equity and Transparency Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-409, Aug. 1, 2014, 61 DCR 8281).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7113(e) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7103(e) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7103(e) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Temporary Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Law 16-259, March 8, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 3044).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Nuisance Properties Abatement Reform and Real Property Classification Temporary Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-102, February 2, 2008, law notification 55 DCR 4254).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Real Property Tax Reform Temporary Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Law 18-153, May 22, 2010, law notification 57 DCR 5381).

Short Title

Short title: Section 2021 of D.C. Law 18-223 provided that subtitle D of title II of the act may be cited as the “Vacant Property Disincentivization Amendment Act of 2010”.

Editor's Notes

Section 601 of D.C. Law 13-281 provided: “The Mayor may issue rules to implement the Abatement and Condemnation of Nuisance Properties Omnibus Amendment Act of 2000 in accordance with the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act.”

D.C. Law 20-141 became effective on Dec. 4, 2014, but was repealed prior to its effective date by emergency D.C. Act 20-377, § 7114, eff. July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, by emergency D.C. Act 20-449, § 7104, eff. October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, by emergency D.C. Act 20-566, § 7104, eff. January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, and by D.C. Law 20-155, § 7104, 61 DCR 9990.