Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3401.03. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) "Accessory dwelling unit" means a rental unit that is secondary to the principal single-family dwelling in terms of gross floor area, intensity of use, and physical character, but which has kitchen and bath facilities separate from the principal dwelling, and may have a separate entrance.

(1A) “Appraised value” means the value of a housing accommodation as of the date of the appraisal, based on an objective, independent property valuation, performed according to professional appraisal industry standards.

(2) “Bona fide offer of sale” means an offer of sale for a housing accommodation or the interest in the housing accommodation that is either:

(A) For a price and other material terms that are at least as favorable as those accepted by a purchaser in an arm’s length third-party contract; or

(B) In the absence of an arm’s length third-party contract, an offer of sale with a price and other material terms comparable to that at which a willing seller and a willing buyer would sell and purchase the housing accommodation, or the appraised value.

(2A) “Condominium” has the same meaning as in § 42-1901.02(4).

(2B) “Condominium Act” means the Condominium Act of 1976 (§ 42-1901.01 et seq.).

(3) “Condominium conversion” is the issuance of notice of filing pursuant to § 42-1904.06(a).

(4) “Conversion” shall include cooperative conversions and condominium conversions as defined in this chapter.

(5) “Cooperative” means a cooperative legally incorporated pursuant to the District of Columbia Cooperative Association Act (§ 29-901 et seq.) or a cooperative corporation incorporated in another jurisdiction for the primary purpose of owning and operating real property in which its members reside.

(6) “Cooperative Act” means the District of Columbia Cooperative Association Act (§ 29-901 et seq.).

(7) “Cooperative conversion” is the filing of articles of incorporation pursuant to the Cooperative Act, or the comparable act of another jurisdiction and compliance with the requirements of this chapter, in either order.

(8) “District” means the District of Columbia government.

(9) “Division” means the Rental Accommodations Division established by § 42-3502.03 or the Rental Conversion and Sale Division established by § 42-3502.04a.

(9A) "Elderly tenant" means a tenant who is 62 years of age or older.

(10) “Head of household” means a tenant who maintains the affected rental unit as the tenant’s principal place of residence, is a resident and domiciliary of the District of Columbia, and contributes more than one-half of the cost of maintaining the rental unit. If no member of a household contributes more than one-half of the cost of maintaining the rental unit, the members of the household who maintain the affected rental unit as their principal place of residence are residents and domiciliaries of the District of Columbia, and contribute to the cost of maintaining the rental unit, may designate one of themselves as the head of household. An individual may be considered a head of household for the purposes of this chapter without regard to whether the individual would qualify as a head of household for the purpose of any other law.

(10A) “Highest and best use” means the reasonably probable legal use of a property that is physically possible, appropriately supported, and financially feasible and that results in the highest value of the property.

(11) “Housing accommodation” or “accommodation” means a structure in the District of Columbia containing 1 or more rental units and the appurtenant land. The term does not include a hotel, motel, or other structure used primarily for transient occupancy and in which at least 60 percent of the rooms devoted to living quarters for tenants or guests are used for transient occupancy if the owner or other person or entity entitled to receive rents is subject to the sales tax imposed by § 47-2001(n)(1)(C) and the occupant of the rental unit has been in occupancy for less than 15 days.

(12) “Low-income” means a household with a combined annual income, in a manner to be determined by the Mayor, which may include federal income tax returns where applicable, totaling less than the following percentages of the lower income guidelines established pursuant to § 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f) for a family of 4 for the Washington Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA), as the median is determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and adjusted yearly by historic trends of that median, and as may be further adjusted by an interim census of District of Columbia incomes by local or regional government agencies:

one-person household . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50%

two-person household . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60%

three-person household or a 1 or 2 person household containing a person

who is 62 years of age or olderor who has a disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90%

four-person household . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100%

five-person household . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110%

more than 5 person household . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120%

(12A) “Matter-of-right” means a land use, development density, or structural dimension to which a property owner is entitled by current zoning regulations or law.

(13) “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia or the designated representative of the Mayor.

(14) “Owner” means an individual, corporation, association, joint venture, business entity and its respective agents, who hold title to the housing accommodation unit or cooperative share.

(15) “Rental Housing Act” means the Rental Housing Act of 1985, effective July 17, 1985 (D.C. Law 6-10; § 42-3501.01 et seq.), or any successor rent control act.

(16) “Rental unit” or “unit” means only that part of a housing accommodation which is rented or offered for rent for residential occupancy and includes an apartment, efficiency apartment, room, suite of rooms, and single-family home or duplex, and the appurtenant land to such rental unit.

(16A) "Single-family accommodation" means:

(A) A housing accommodation, whether freestanding or attached, and the appurtenant land that contains:

(i) One single-family dwelling; or

(ii) One single-family dwelling with one accessory dwelling unit; or

(B) A single rental unit in a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners association, as that term is defined in § 47-871(2).

(16B) "Single-family dwelling" means a structure, whether freestanding or attached, that contains a room or group of rooms forming a single living space, which includes a kitchen, that is used or intended to be used for living, eating, and sleeping, and the structure's appurtenant land.

(17) “Tenant” means a tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee, or other person entitled to the possession, occupancy or benefits of a rental unit within a housing accommodation. If the names of 2 or more persons appear on a rental agreement, those persons shall determine which person may exercise a vote under this chapter. The singular term “tenant” includes the plural.

(18) “Tenant organization” means an organization that represents at least a majority of the heads of household in the housing accommodation excluding those households in which no member has resided in the housing accommodation for at least 90 days and those households in which any member has been an employee of the owner during the preceding 120 days.

(19) "Tenant with a disability" means a tenant who has a disability as defined in section 3(1)(A) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, approved July 26, 1990 (104 Stat. 329; 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A)).


(Sept. 10, 1980, D.C. Law 3-86, § 103, 27 DCR 2975; Mar. 4, 1981, D.C. Law 3-131, § 801(a), 28 DCR 326; Sept. 6, 1995, D.C. Law 11-31, § 3(c), 42 DCR 3239; July 22, 2005, D.C. Law 16-15, § 2(a), 52 DCR 6885; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 65, 53 DCR 6198; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-366, § 2(a), 56 DCR 1332; Feb. 26, 2016, D.C. Law 21-63, § 2(a) 62 DCR 16251; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-239, § 2(c), 64 DCR 1588; July 3, 2018, D.C. Law 22-120, § 2(a), 65 DCR 5077.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1603.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-2604, § 42-2851.02, § 42-3505.01, § 42-3531.04, and § 47-865.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-15, in par. (17), added the second sentence.

D.C. Law 16-305, in par. (12), substituted “has a disability” for “is handicapped”.

D.C. Law 17-366 rewrote par. (10), which had read as follows: “(10) ‘Household’ means all of the persons living in a rental unit.”

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-63 added (1) and (2); redesignated former (1) and (2) as (2A) and (2B), respectively; redesignated former (9) and (10) as (10) and (9), respectively; and added (10A) and (12A).

Cross References

Recipients of financial assistance from Home Purchase Assistance funds as tenant organizations, see § 42-2604.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3(c) of the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 Reenactment and Amendment Emergency Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-285, July 8, 1994, 41 DCR 4904).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3(c) of the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 Reenactment and Amendment Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-47, May 4, 1995, 42 DCR 2410) and § 3(c) of the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 Reenactment and Amendment Congressional Recess Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-96, July 19, 1995, 42 DCR 3837).

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 45-1604 1981 Ed., see § 3 of the Tenant Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-328, May 9, 2000, 47 DCR 4347).

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 45-1604 1981 Ed., see § 3 of the Tenant Protection Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-411, August 14, 2000, 47 DCR 7285).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the TOPA Bona Fide Offer of Sale Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-95, June 25, 2015, 62 DCR 9225, 21 DCSTAT 1484).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the TOPA Bona Fide Offer of Sale Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-151, Aug. 11, 2015, 62 DCR 11441).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(c) of Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 Temporary Extension Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Law 10-176, September 22, 1994, law notification 41 DCR 6706).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Tenant Protection Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-158, September 16, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 8064).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the TOPA Bona Fide Offer of Sale Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-26, Sept. 23, 2015, 62 DCR 9456).

Editor's Notes

Reenactment of Law 3-86: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 42-3401.01.

Amendment of section by Law 10-144: Section 2(c) of D.C. Law 10-144 purported to amend (7) and (15) to read as follows:

“As used in this chapter, the term:

“(7) ‘Cooperative conversion’ is the filing of articles of incorporation pursuant to the Cooperative Act, or the comparable act of another jurisdiction and compliance with the requirements of this chapter, in either order.”

“(15) ‘Rental Housing Act’ means the Rental Housing Act of 1985, effective July 17, 1985 (D.C. Law 6-10; D.C. Code § 45-2501 et seq.), or any successor rent control act.”