Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–1377. Purchaser reimbursed by redeeming party for expenses.

(a)(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, upon redemption, a purchaser is entitled to be reimbursed by the redeeming person for the following expenses incurred in an action, or in preparation for an action, to foreclose the right of redemption:

(A) If an action to foreclose the right of redemption has not been filed and the property is redeemed more than 4 months after the applicable tax sale’s tax sale date, the purchaser may be reimbursed for the following pre-complaint legal expenses:

(i) The cost of $50 for any posting required by § 47-1353.01;

(ii) Costs for recording the certificate of sale; and

(iii) The cost of a title search, not to exceed $300.

(B) If an action to foreclose the right of redemption has been filed, the purchaser may also be reimbursed for:

(i) Reasonable attorneys’ fees as follows:

(I) In a case in which the property is redeemed before the 5th status hearing, reasonable attorneys’ fees not to exceed $1,500;

(II) In a case requiring 5 or more status hearings, reasonable attorneys’ fees not to exceed $1,500, plus $75 for the 5th status hearing and each additional status hearing thereafter; and

(III) In a case in which a motion for judgment is filed with the court, additional attorneys’ fees in the amount of $300;

(ii) Notwithstanding sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph, in cases requiring prolonged or complex representation not typically necessary to resolve an action filed under this chapter, including cases in which the purchaser incurs attorneys’ fees and expenses under § 47- 1382.01(a), other reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred and specifically requested by the purchaser and approved by the court, on a case-by-case basis; provided, that additional attorneys’ fees shall not be awarded if a tax sale is cancelled by the Mayor under § 47-1366, or where a purchaser is required to show good cause under subsection (c) of this section; and

(iii) Expenses actually incurred as follows:

(I) Filing fee charged by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia;

(II) Service of process fee, including fees incurred attempting to serve process;

(III) If a 2nd title search is conducted more than 6 months after the initial title search, a title search update fee, not to exceed $75;

(IV) Publication fee charged by a newspaper of general circulation in the District;

(V) Posting fees;

(VI) Postage and certified mail costs;

(VII) Substantial repair order fee, not to exceed the fee charged by the government agency issuing the certificate of substantial repair; and

(VIII) Any court approved expense for stabilization or conversion of, or to make safe and compliant with Chapter 31A of Title 42, the property under § 47-1363 or to comply with an action taken against the property by the Mayor in accordance with the applicable building, fire, health, or safety code.

(2)(A) In calculating the number of hearings in a case for the purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(i) of this subsection, any status hearing held before the redeeming party was served shall be excluded from the calculation.

(B) For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(i) of this subsection, an initial scheduling conference shall be deemed a status hearing.

(C) Nothing in paragraph (1) of his subsection shall be construed as prohibiting the purchaser from settling attorneys’ fees in a lesser amount than the purchaser may be eligible for under this section.

(b) No purchaser of a certificate of sale shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred within 4 months after the date of the tax sale. A purchaser other than the District shall not be reimbursed for any expenses if the certificate becomes void under this chapter.

(c) The purchaser shall not be entitled to be reimbursed for any expenses or attorney’s fees not included in this section. Expenses or attorneys’ fees incurred by a purchaser who appeals the assessment or the vacant status of the property are not reimbursable.

(d) If the purchaser fails to satisfy the requirements for posting under § 47-1353.01 or fails to provide proof of posting required under § 47-1370(c)(4), the purchaser shall not be entitled to collect the legal expenses set forth in subsection (a) of this section; provided, that upon a showing to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of good cause for the failure to meet the posting requirements of § 47-1353.01 or § 47-1370(c) (4), the purchaser shall be entitled to collect those expenses, not to exceed the amounts set forth in subsection (a) of this section, that the Superior Court of the District of Columbia considers reasonable.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, if the tax sale is cancelled by the Mayor under § 47-1366, the purchaser shall not be entitled to reimbursement of the expenses permitted under subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section if the purchaser fails to specifically disclose to the Mayor, at least 45 days before the filing of a complaint to foreclose the right of redemption, information that is obtained or should have been obtained from the pre-complaint investigation, including the title examination and review of bankruptcy records under § 47-1371(b)(2) and § 47-1371(b)(2A), that evidences a violation of § 47-1332(c), a violation of a bankruptcy stay, or errors, as prescribed by the Mayor through regulation.


(June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 507(a)(2), 48 DCR 334; Dec. 4, 2014, D.C. Law 20-141, § 101(c)(27), 61 DCR 7763; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, §§ 7102(c)(27), 7104, 61 DCR 9990; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 7037(j), 62 DCR 10905.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-1336, § 47-1361, and § 47-1380.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-141, repealed before its effective date, would have rewritten (a); in (b), substituted “date of the tax sale” for “date of sale or” in the present first sentence, and inserted “A purchaser other than the District shall not be reimbursed for any expenses” at the beginning of the present second sentence; and would have added (b-1), (c), and (d).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 rewrote this section.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36 substituted “cost” for “amount” in (a)(1)(A)(i).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 7 of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(oo) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-381, June 6, 2002, 49 DCR 5674).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(pp) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-456, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8107).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(pp) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-510, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10247).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the District Real Property Tax Sale Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-179, October 4, 2013, 60 DCR 14947).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(c)(28) 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 § 7112(c)(27) 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 § 101(c)(28) 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 § 7102(c)(27) 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, as amended by D.C. Law 20-155, § 7102(c), see the first § 2(q) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Clarification Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-461, November 6, 2014, 61 DCR 11784, 20 STAT 4368).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7102(c)(27) 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).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, as amended by D.C. Law 20-155, § 7102(c), see the first § 2(q) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Clarification Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-587, January 13, 2015, 62 DCR 1294, 21 STAT 758).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7016(v)(14) and (y)(2) of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) addition of section, see § 7 of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-8, June 13, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 5916).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the District Real Property Tax Sale Temporary Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-55, December 13, 2013, 60 DCR 15163).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(r)(15) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-179, March 7, 2015, 62 DCR 424).

Editor's Notes

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.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-36: Section 7048(b) of D.C. Law 21-36 provided that §§ 7027, 7031, 7036, and 7037 of the act shall apply as of October 1, 2014.