7 Important D.C. Eviction Laws

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Both tenants and landlords need to be familiar with eviction laws in Washington, D.C. That familiarity can not help landlords create more effective rules and contracts for their tenants, but also ensure that tenants do not get evicted unfairly or without taking the right processes into account. Familiarizing yourself with D.C. eviction laws makes it easier to protect your rights, either as a landlord or as a tenant.

Here’s what you need to know. 

1. Washington, D.C. Only Allows Tenants to Be Evicted for Highly Specific Reasons

Those reasons include:

  • Not paying rent
  • Participating in illegal activities — including drug-related activities — in the unit
  • Violation of the lease that is not corrected when the tenant is informed/reminded of the violation. This might include:
    • Excessive noise
    • Using the property for purposes not stated in the lease
    • Subletting the property outside the terms set forth by the lease
    • Keeping pets in the property when the lease specifies no pets
  • The landlord has a change of plans for the property, including:
    • Planning to inhabit it himself 
    • Renovating the property 
    • Turning the property into a condominium
    • Tearing down the property
    • Selling the property to a new owner who plans to live in the property
    • No longer using the property as rental housing

Landlords cannot evict tenants outside these reasons. Landlords in D.C. do not have the right to evict tenants for race, religion, or other personal criteria, or remove an otherwise reasonable tenant who remains inside the terms of the lease unless the landlord has changed his plans for the property. Those that do change their plans for their properties must provide their tenants with adequate notice of their intentions so they can find alternate living arrangements. 

2. If a Landlord Does Evict a Tenant, the Landlord Must Go Through the Judicial Process for Eviction

This includes a written Notice of Eviction as well as a court order. The only time the tenant does not require a written Notice of Eviction is in the case of rent non-payment, and even then only if the tenant waives that right in the lease. The tenant may be held legally liable for the fees the landlord faces as a result of court action to remove him or her. Landlords should keep in mind, however, that if they evict a tenant who is already behind on rent, that tenant may not have the funds needed to pay those legal fees. Many landlords factor the potential cost of evictions into their budget for rental properties. 

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3. The Landlord Cannot Perform a “Self-Help Eviction” 

Some landlords attempt to take matters into their own hands when removing a tenant — by changing the locks to prevent a tenant from coming back into the property, for example. A landlord might also attempt to forcibly evict a tenant by removing their personal possessions from the property. Landlords do not have the legal right to complete this action, however: If a tenant believes the landlord has performed a self-help eviction, he or she should contact the police and let them know about the situation as soon as possible. 

4. Tenants Have the Right to Correct a Lease Violation Prior to Eviction

The lease says no pets are allowed in the unit, but the tenant has a dog. The tenant is responsible for caring for the exterior of the property, but has not taken care of mowing responsibilities for some time. A violation of the terms of the lease can prove grounds for eviction, but the tenant must receive written notice of that violation prior to completing the eviction process. He must also be given adequate time to correct the violation before being evicted: for example, getting rid of a pet that violates the lease, or beginning a regular maintenance routine on the outside of the property.

DC Eviction Laws: What Do You Need to Know?

If the tenant does correct the violation, the landlord no longer has the right to evict him or her. 

5. In the Case of Nonpayment of Rent, the Tenant Has Until the Eviction Is Executed to Make Full Payment and Avoid Eviction

The full amount owed to the landlord will be determined by the court. If the tenant pays the full amount owed to the landlord prior to the date of the eviction, it can halt the eviction process and allow the tenant to remain in the property. The tenant should then make every effort to pay the rent on time moving forward. 

6. The Tenant Still Owes the Landlord Past-Due Rent Even After He Is Evicted

As a tenant, you cannot simply wait out an eviction notice and hope for the best. If you owe past-due rent, you will still owe that past-due rent even after the eviction. You may see unpaid rent on your credit report, which can make it more difficult for you to find future accommodations. The landlord can also pursue collections to gather the unpaid rent and interest related to that unpaid rent, as laid out by the terms of the lease. The tenant should read the lease carefully to avoid fees and penalties related to unpaid rent. 

7. Tenants Must Have Up to 30 Days’ Notice Before Eviction

The written notice provided to tenants must give them at least 30 days to vacate the property. In some cases, the landlord may need to give tenants up to 180 days to vacate. Landlords cannot force the tenant to move out before the date on that notice, although tenants can decide to move out prior to the end of that period on their own. 

Get Help Navigating Eviction Laws

Owning or using rental property involves a highly specific set of responsibilities: Tenants must take care to abide by the terms of the lease, and landlords are also required to pay attention to the terms they set out in their agreements. Even landlords who use standard lease formats should carefully read over those terms to ensure they follow them to the letter when dealing with their tenants. Working with an experienced property manager can make it easier to find a great fit for both tenants and the landlords from whom they rent.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a place to rent, check out our DC rentals.

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Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

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Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

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Financial Statements

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The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

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Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

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Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

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You can reply in-line using the comment box:

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Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
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The Description column displays the transaction type:

  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.