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District of Columbia Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

When a landlord rents a property to a tenant, the parties formalize the legal relationship through a lease, or rental agreement. This agreement, which is legally binding, outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party, the amount of rent and due date for payment, whether pets are allowed, the amount of security deposit required, and so on. Rental agreements are regulated by state laws, which typically place limits on how much of a deposit a landlord may charge and when deposits are due.

Washington, D.C. Lease and Rental Agreement Laws at a Glance

The following table provides details about D.C.'s lease and rental agreement laws. See FindLaw's Rental and Lease Agreements section for more articles.

Code Section 14-300, et seq.
Terms of Leases Receipt of rent for new term or part thereof amounts to waiver of landlord's right to demand possession) Shapiro v. Christopher, 195 F.2d 785 (D.C. Cir. 1952); Byrne v. Morrison, 25 App. D.C. 72 (1905))
Deposits

Any security deposit or other payment required by an owner as security for performance of the tenant’s obligations in a lease or rental of a dwelling unit shall not exceed an amount equivalent to the first full month’s rent charged that tenant for the dwelling unit, and shall be charged only once by the owner to the tenant.

Interest on deposit required at 5% annually for all deposits, only for deposit on tenancy for 12 months or more; deposit returned within 45 days of termination.

All monies held by an owner on February 20, 1976 for security deposits or other payments covered by this section shall be paid into an escrow account within thirty (30) days.

The owner of more than one residential building may establish one (1) escrow account for holding security deposits or other payments by the tenants of those buildings.

Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, physical handicap, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, place of residence or business; also illegal to discriminate against families receiving or eligible to receive Tenant Assistance Program assistance
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? No

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through a number of ways, including decisions from higher courts and the enactment of newly signed legislation. You may want to contact a District of Columbia landlord-tenant law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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