§ 42–3502.02. Powers and duties of Rental Housing Commission.
*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on February 4, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*
(a) The Rental Housing Commission shall:
(1) Possess sole authority to issue, amend, and rescind rules and procedures for the administration of this chapter except rules and procedures subject to § 2-1831.05(a)(7);
(2) Decide appeals brought to it from decisions of the Rent Administrator or the Office of Administrative Hearings, including appeals under the Rental Accommodations Act of 1975, the Rental Housing Act of 1977, and the Rental Housing Act of 1980; and
(3) Certify and publish before March 1 of each year:
(A) The annual adjustment of general applicability of the rent charged for a rental unit under § 42-3502.06;
(B) 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));
(C) The maximum annual rent adjustment that may be imposed on a unit occupied by an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability pursuant to § 42-3502.24(a); and
(D) The qualifying income for an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability to be exempt from an adjustment in the rent charged pursuant to §§ 42-3502.10, 42-3502.11, 42-3502.12, and 42-3502.14 and whose rent charged may not be increased under § 42-3502.15
(b)(1) The Rental Housing Commission may hold hearings, sit and act at times and places within the District, administer oaths, and require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents as the Rental Housing Commission may consider advisable in carrying out its functions under this chapter.
(2)(A) A majority of the Rental Housing Commissioners shall constitute a quorum to do business, and a single vacancy shall not impair the right of the remaining Rental Housing Commissioners to exercise all powers of the Rental Housing Commission.
(B) In the event that a majority of the Rental Housing Commissioners (or any one Commissioner if there is a vacancy) will be unable to perform their official duties for an extended period of time due to circumstances related to a declared state of emergency in the District of Columbia, including quarantine or movement restrictions, illness, or the care of a close family member, one Commissioner shall constitute a quorum to do business.
(i) If the Chairperson will be unable to perform his or her duties, he or she shall designate an acting Chairperson or, if only one Commissioner is available, that Commissioner shall be automatically designated as acting Chairperson.
(ii) The Chairperson of the Rental Housing Commission shall notify the Mayor and the Chairperson of the Council in writing of any temporary vacancy and whether the Commission is operating as a quorum of one.
(iii) For such time as the Rental Housing Commission is operating as a quorum of one, the Commission shall only issue, amend, or rescind rules on an emergency basis in accordance with § 2-505(c).
(iv) The authority to operate as a quorum of one shall terminate when at least one Rental Housing Commissioner notifies the Chairperson in writing that he or she is able to resume his or her duties. The authority may extend beyond the termination of the original declared state of emergency if Commissioners are personally affected by continuing circumstances.
(3) In the case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued under paragraph (1) of this subsection by any person who resides in, is found in, or transacts business within the District, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, at the written request of the Rental Housing Commission, shall issue an order requiring the contumacious person to appear before the Rental Housing Commission, to produce evidence if so ordered, or to give testimony touching upon the matter under inquiry. Any failure of the person to obey any order of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia may be punished by that Court for contempt.
(c) Upon the written request of the chairperson of the Rental Housing Commission, each department or entity of the District government may furnish directly to the Rental Housing Commission any assistance and information necessary for the Rental Housing Commission to carry out effectively this chapter.
(d) The Rental Housing Commission shall employ the staff necessary to carry out its functions. Of the staff employed, 3 shall be law clerks who shall assist each member of the Rental Housing Commission in the preparation of decisions and orders.
(e) All documents filed in any case before the Rental Housing Commission shall be available to the public for review, consistent with subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.