Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3502.24. Elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities.

(a) Notwithstanding § 42-3502.08(h), an adjustment in the amount of rent charged while a unit is occupied by an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, without regard to income, shall not exceed the rent charged for the unit, plus the least of:

(1) The adjustment of general applicability;

(2) The most recent annual cost-of-living adjustment of benefits for social security recipients established pursuant to section 415(i) of the Social Security Act, approved August 28, 1950 (64 Stat. 506; 42 U.S.C. § 415(i)); or

(3) Five percent of the rent charged.

(b) A rent surcharge allowed pursuant to §§ 42-3502.10, 42-3502.12, and 42-3502.14 and a rent increase allowed pursuant to § 42-3502.11, shall not be assessed against a current or future elderly tenant or tenant with a disability with a qualifying income. For the purposes of calculating the rent charged a future qualified elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, adjustments in the rent charged pursuant to these sections effected during the tenancy of a tenant not exempt from the adjustments, shall be considered rent surcharges, and shall be subtracted from the rent charged for the unit.

(c) A tenant exempt from § 42-3502.11 and a tenant whose rent charged may not be increased under § 42-3502.15 may waive his or her rights under the respective sections. The waiver shall be in writing and shall state that it was made voluntarily, without coercion, and with full knowledge of the ramifications of a waiver of their rights.

(d)(1) A tenant may file a completed elderly or disability status and income eligibility registration form and supporting documentation by mail, fax, email, or in person at the Rental Accommodations Division of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

(2) The Mayor shall determine the minimum documentation necessary for a tenant to establish elderly tenant or tenant with a disability status and income eligibility, which may include:

(A) For elderly status, proof of age as documented by a passport, birth certificate, District-issued driver's license or identification card, or any other documentation as the Mayor deems sufficient; and

(B) For disability status, an award letter for disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, a letter from a physician stating that the tenant is a tenant with a disability, or other documentation as the Mayor may deem sufficient.

(3) In making a determination that a tenant qualifies as a tenant with a disability under this subsection, the Mayor shall limit the inquiry to the minimum information and documentation necessary to establish that the tenant meets the definition of a tenant with a disability and shall not inquire further into the nature or severity of the disability.

(4) The Mayor shall not require a tenant to provide a description of the disability when making an eligibility determination; provided, that the Mayor shall require that a physician or other licensed healthcare professional verify that a tenant meets the definition of a tenant with a disability.

(5) The Mayor shall not require the tenant to provide eligibility documentation in fewer than 30 days.

(6) The Mayor shall maintain records of the information compiled under this subsection and shall not disclose information about a tenant's disability unless the disclosure is required by law.

(7) The Mayor shall develop any forms and procedures as may be necessary to verify eligibility under this subsection.

(8) A tenant shall provide pay stubs, benefit statements, or other documentation as the Mayor may deem sufficient as proof of income eligibility to qualify for an exemption from an adjustment in the rent charged pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(9) A housing provider shall, upon the request of a tenant, provide the tenant with a current copy of the registration form issued by the Rent Administrator for purposes of establishing elderly tenant or tenant with a disability status, or qualifying income status.

(e)(1) A tenant's elderly or disability status shall be effective as of the first day of the first month following compliance with this subsection and shall remain effective unless and until any time the Rent Administrator may deny the registration.

(2) If the effective date of the tenant's elderly or disability status occurs less than 12 months after the effective date of a rent adjustment of general applicability, the housing provider shall reduce the rent charged to the rent for a unit occupied by an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability pursuant to subsection (a) of this section,as of the effective date of the tenant's elderly or disability status.

(3) An elderly tenant or tenant with a disability shall not be entitled to receive a retroactive refund for an approved registration for a time period where the tenant was qualified as an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability, but had not yet fulfilled the requirements of this section.

(f) The Rent Administrator shall issue a notice of rent adjustment that shall set forth:

(1) The maximum standard rent increase percentage that applies to elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities, in bold 12-point lettering;

(2) The benefits and protections that apply to elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities; and

(3) The standards and procedures for qualifying for those benefits and protections.

(g)(1) A housing provider who provides housing to an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, with qualifying income, and is not permitted under subsection (b) of this subsection to implement, and does not implement, an adjustment in rent charged pursuant to § 42-3502.10, § 42-3502.11, § 42-3502.12, or § 42-3502.14, shall receive a tax credit for each unit occupied by an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability, with qualifying income, in the amount of $1 for each $1 of theapproved rent adjustment that is not implemented.

(2) The tax credit may be taken against the next installment or installments of taxes payable to the District coming due with respect to the housing accommodation, inclusive of the land on which it is located.

(3)(A)(i) The tax credit shall first be taken against real property taxes payable to the District.

(ii) The Rent Administrator shall certify to the Office of Tax and Revenue the amount of credit allowable for each housing provider and parcel of real property for each real property tax year.

(iii) The total amount of credit certified by the Rent Administrator for any tax year shall not exceed the maximum amount of credit allowable for the year under paragraph (6) of this subsection.

(B) If the amount that would be collectible from elderly tenants and tenants with disabilities at the housing accommodation exceeds the amount of real property taxes that would be payable during the real property tax year with respect to the housing accommodation but for the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, then the housing provider may take the tax credit against income or franchise taxes payable to the District for the housing provider's tax year during which the real property tax year ends.

(4) The tax credit shall cease:

(A) Upon recovery by the housing provider of all costs, including interest and service charges, used as a basis for a capital improvement petition or a substantial rehabilitation petition; or

(B) Upon any expiration of a hardship petition granted to the housing provider.

(5) If an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, with qualifying income, should cease to reside in a rental unit, the tax credit allowed to the housing provider for that rental unit shall cease.

(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the total combined tax credits claimed by all housing providers under this section for any fiscal year shall not exceed $1.25 million.

(7) The maximum total combined tax credits claimed by all housing providers under this section for any fiscal year shall be adjusted annually by an amount equal to the change during the previous calendar year, ending each December 31, in the Washington, D.C., Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers ("CPI-W") for all items during the preceding calendar year.

(8) The base year for the annual adjustment specified in paragraph (7) of this subsection shall be the year 2017. The annual adjustment shall occur at least 12 months after April 7, 2017, on the following October 1. The annual adjustment shall be in accordance with the CPI-W effective as of the October 1 of each subsequent year.

(9) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, if the Chief Financial Officer finds that funds are not available for the tax credit provided by this subsection, then a housing provider may assess against an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability a rent surcharge allowed pursuant to §§ 42-3502.10, 42-3502.12, and 42-3502.14, and a rent increase allowed pursuant to § 42-3502.11.

(h)(1) A housing provider shall not increase the rent charged in an amount greater than that allowed for a unit occupied by an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, unless the Rent Administrator has issued a determination that the tenant failed to qualify for elderly or disability status, pursuant to this subsection.

(2) If the housing provider has substantial grounds to believe that the tenant does not qualify for elderly or disability status, or that relevant documentation is fraudulent or has been falsified, and if efforts to resolve the dispute directly with the tenant are unavailing, then the housing provider may challenge the tenant's registration by:

(A) Notifying the tenant of the basis for the challenge; and

(B) Filing a request to deny the registration with the Rent Administrator, within 30 days of the tenant's compliance with subsection (d) of this section.

(3)(A) If the Rent Administrator has substantial grounds to believe that the tenant does not qualify for elderly or disability status, and that relevant documentation is fraudulent or has been falsified, then within 30 days of the tenant's compliance with subsection (d) of this section, the Rent Administrator may deny the tenant's registration.

(B) The Rent Administrator shall deny a tenant's registration only upon clear and convincing evidence of error, fraud, falsification, or misrepresentation, and only if the tenant has been given the opportunity to respond to the challenge to the registration by the housing provider or to the denial of the registration by the Rent Administrator.

(C) If the Rent Administrator denies a tenant's registration, and determines that the tenant acted in bad faith rather than due to unintentional error, then within 21 days of the denial, the Rent Administrator may order the tenant to pay to the housing provider double the difference between the amount of rent to be charged pursuant to § 42-3502.08(h) and the amount of rent actually paid, with interest.

(i)(1) A voluntary agreement shall not increase the rent charged to a current or future elderly tenant or tenant with a disability with a qualifying income.

(2) For the purposes of calculating the rent charged a future qualified elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, an increase in the rent charged pursuant to a voluntary agreement effected during the tenancy of a tenant not exempt from the increase, shall be considered a rent surcharge, and shall be subtracted from the rent charge of the unit during the tenancy of the qualified elderly tenant or tenant with a disability.

(3) The voluntary agreement shall identify each rental unit that is occupied by an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability, the name of each tenant in the unit, and the current rent charged.

(j) The Mayor may determine the term of eligibility and recertification requirements for the exemptions provided by this section.


(July 17, 1985, D.C. Law 6-10, § 224; as added Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-239, § 3(g), 64 DCR 1588.)

Applicability

Section 7017 of D.C. Law 22-168 repealed section 4 of D.C. Law 21-239. Therefore the creation of this section by D.C. Law 21-239 has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-239: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-239 provided that the creation of subsection (b) of this section by § 3(g) of D.C. Law 21-239 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.