Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Discontinuance of Service.


§ 34–2407.01. Discontinuance of water service for failure to pay water charges.

(a) The Mayor of the District of Columbia is authorized to provide for the collection of water charges, in advance or otherwise, from the owner or occupant of any building, establishment, or other place furnished water or water service by the District, and to shut off the water supply to any such building, establishment, or other place upon failure of the owner or occupant thereof to pay such water charges within 30 days from the date of rendition of the bill therefor. Such authority to shut off the water supply may be exercised by the Mayor regardless of any change in ownership or occupancy of such building, establishment, or other place. When the water supply to any such building, establishment, or other place has been shut off for failure to pay such water charges, whether the water supply to such building, establishment, or other place was shut off before or after May 18, 1954, the Mayor shall not again supply such building, establishment, or other place with water until all arrears of water charges, together with penalties and the costs actually incurred in shutting off and restoring the water supply, are paid.

(b) If the water supply to any property has been shut off for failure to pay District water and sanitary sewer service charges, and later restored without the express authorization of the Mayor, the Mayor shall impose a fine in an amount not less than 20% of the delinquent charges or more than $100, whichever is greater, upon the owner or occupant of the property, unless the Mayor determines that the owner or occupant did not restore or solicit a person to restore the water.


(May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 102, ch. 218, title I, § 103; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(b), 37 DCR 2620; Nov. 25, 1993, D.C. Law 10-65, § 501(a), 40 DCR 7351.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1528.

1973 Ed., § 43-1521b.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-2110, § 34-2407.02, and § 34-2407.03.

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of D.C. Water and Sewer Operations Temporary Amendment Act of 1993(D.C. Law 10-3, May 18, 1993, law notification 42 DCR 3404).

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 34-2409.04.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–2407.02. Lien for water charges.

(a)(1) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, if an owner of real property fails to pay District water and sanitary sewer service charges in full accordance with § 34-2407.01, for all bills rendered which remain unsatisfied for 60 days or more the Mayor may file a certificate of delinquency with the Recorder of Deeds.

(2) Upon filing, the certificate of delinquency shall constitute a continuing lien against the real property and show the amount of unpaid charges for District water and sanitary sewer services. The continuing lien shall be for the current full amount of the unpaid water and sanitary sewer service charges, penalties, interest, and administrative costs.

(3) The Mayor may enforce the lien if any water and sanitary sewer service charges remain unpaid for more than 180 days from the date the bill is rendered or for more than 15 days after a final decision of an appeal challenging the bill, whichever is later in the same manner that real property tax liens are enforced pursuant to Chapter 13 and Subchapter IV of Chapter 13A of Title 47.

(4) The real property may be sold for the unpaid water and sanitary sewer charges, penalties, interest and administrative costs at a tax sale in accordance with the provisions for the sale of property for delinquent real property taxes pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 47.

(5) If any real property sold for unpaid water and sanitary sewer service charges is not redeemed by the owner within 180 days from the date of sale, including payment of 2% interest for each month until the property is redeemed, the Mayor shall furnish a deed to the purchaser or holder of the certificate of sale in accordance with § 47-1304.

(6) Proceeds from the sale that represent unpaid water charges shall be credited to the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund of the District of Columbia as established by § 47-375(g).

(b) A lien for water and sanitary sewer charges shall have priority over any other lien, except a lien for District taxes. The lien for water and sanitary sewer service charges shall remain in effect until the charges set forth in the certificate and any accrued additional charges, interest, penalties, and administrative costs are paid in full. Upon final payment of any delinquent charges, penalties, interest, and administrative costs, the Mayor shall file promptly a certificate of satisfaction with the Recorder of Deeds.

(c) The Mayor may defer or forgive, in whole or in part, any water and sanitary sewer service charges due the District for any qualified real property pursuant to § 6-1503.

(d) The Mayor shall not sell the residence of an owner who occupies a single family home for failure to pay District water and sanitary sewer charges in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.


(May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 102, ch. 218, title I, § 104; Oct. 20, 1988, D.C. Law 7-177, § 9(a), 35 DCR 6158; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 2(c), 37 DCR 2620; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-198, § 203, 43 DCR 4569; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 508(d), 48 DCR 334; Mar. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-132, § 2, 51 DCR 1804.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1529.

1973 Ed., § 43-1521c.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1215.15, § 6-1503, § 8-152.03, § 34-2109, § 34-2110, § 34-2202.16, § 34-2202.19, § 34-2403.03, § 34-2407.03, § 34-2410.03, § 47-1052, § 47-1303, § 47-1304, § 47-1306, § 47-1307, and § 47-1312.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305 rewrote subsec. (a) which had read:

“(a) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, if an owner of real property fails to pay District water and sanitary sewer service charges in full in accordance with § 34-2407.01 or 34-2413.10, on or after the 60th day, but not later than the 120th day, after the bill is rendered, the Mayor shall file a certificate of delinquency with the Recorder of Deeds. Upon filing, the certificate of delinquency shall constitute a continuing lien against the real property and show the amount of unpaid charges for District water and sanitary sewer services. The Mayor shall enforce the lien if any water and sanitary sewer service charges remain unpaid for more than 180 days from the date the bill is rendered or for more than 15 days after a final decision of an appeal challenging the bill, whichever is later. The real property shall be sold for the unpaid water and sanitary sewer service charges, penalties, interest, and administrative costs at the next tax sale conducted pursuant to § 47-1301, in accordance with the provisions for the sale of property for delinquent real property taxes pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 47. If any real property sold for unpaid water and sanitary sewer service charges is not redeemed by the owner within 180 days from the date of sale, including payment of 2% interest for each month until the property is redeemed, the Mayor shall furnish a deed to the purchaser or holder of the certificate of sale in accordance with § 47-1304. Proceeds from the sale that represent unpaid water charges shall be credited to the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund of the District of Columbia as established by § 47-375(g).”

D.C. Law 15-132 rewrote subsec. (a) which had read:

“(a) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, if an owner of real property fails to pay District water and sanitary sewer service charges in full in accordance with § 34-2407.01 on or before the 60th day, but not later than the 120th day, after the bill is rendered, the Mayor shall file a certificate of delinquency with the Recorder of Deeds. Upon filing, the certificate of delinquency shall constitute a continuing lien against the real property (including a lien for purposes of § 47-1340(c)) and show the amount of unpaid charges for District water and sanitary sewer services. The Mayor may enforce the lien, plus penalties, interest, and administrative costs, in accordance with the provisions for the sale of property for delinquent real property taxes under Chapter 13A of Title 47 if any water and sanitary sewer service charges remain unpaid upon the later of 181 days after the date the bill is rendered or 16 days after a final decision of an appeal challenging the bill. If an accounting is made in accordance with, and subject to, § 47-1340(f), proceeds from the sale that represent unpaid water charges shall be credited to the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund of the District of Columbia as established by § 47-375(g).”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 203 of the Fiscal Year 1997 Budget Support Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-302, July 25, 1996, 43 DCR 4181), § 203 of the Fiscal Year 1997 Budget Support Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-429, October 29, 1996, 43 DCR 6151), and § 203 of the Fiscal year 1997 Budget Support Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-2, February 19, 1997, 44 DCR 1590).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 8(d) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 203 of Fiscal Year 1997 Budget Support Temporary Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Law 11-226, April 9, 1997, law notification 44 DCR 2584).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 8(d) of the 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).

Editor's Notes

Application of provisions of Law 11-198: Section 1001 of D.C. Law 11-198 provided that titles I, II, III, V, and VI and sections 405 and 406 of the act shall apply after September 30, 1996.

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 13 of D.C. Law 7-177 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority to the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development for the Issuance of District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (’WASA’) Deeds, see Mayor’s Order 2008-89, June 23, 2008 ( 55 DCR 9368).


§ 34–2407.03. Remedies not exclusive.

The remedies set forth in §§ 34-2407.01, 34-2407.02, and 34-2413.10 [repealed] are hereby declared to be cumulative and not exclusive.


(May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 102, ch. 218, title I, § 105.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1530.

1973 Ed., § 43-1521d.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-2110.